Minnesota Opinion - On protecting your family - get the lead out:
An excerpt from recent Minnesota editorials: On protecting your family: Get the lead out School-age kids across the country are engaged in a host of activities about fire prevention, smoke alarms and the importance of having a family escape plan....
An excerpt from recent Minnesota editorials:
On protecting your family: Get the lead out
School-age kids across the country are engaged in a host of activities about fire prevention, smoke alarms and the importance of having a family escape plan. (Last week was) Fire Prevention Week, an annual event that lets kids check out fire trucks, see how fire extinguishers work and learn what to do if their home catches fire.
Given that fires kill 3,000 people die each year in the United States, this is an important outreach effort. ...
But there's another health-related campaign going on: October is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Month. More than 250,000 children are diagnosed with elevated lead levels in their blood each year a condition that puts them at risk for a variety of behavioral and learning disorders, as well as serious health problems later in life.
The most common cause of lead poisoning is lead-based paint, typically found in homes that were built prior to 1978. According to the Minnesota Department of Health, more than 1.2 million homes statewide contain lead paint, and the older your home is, the more likely it is to have this problem.
It's an easy thing to ignore, as there are no alarms for lead exposure.
Even if there are no children in your home, you should be aware of the risks of lead exposure. Any remodeling project that involves paint removal could cause significant lead exposure if proper precautions aren't taken.
The good news is that it's relatively easy to determine if you have lead-based paint on your walls. Do-it-yourself kits are available at most paint stores and hardware stores. If you discover that your paint contains lead, the Minnesota Department of Health's web site provides fact sheets and instructions for removing it -- or help in finding a licensed contractor to do the work for you.
You wouldn't tolerate a furnace that leaked carbon monoxide. You wouldn't let your child sleep in a crib that had been recalled. If you found mold growing in your basement, you'd take immediate steps to correct the problem.
Perhaps it's time to think about lead exposure in much the same way.
-- Post-Bulletin of Rochester