LEAD Action News

LEAD Action News Vol 3 no 1 Summer 1995.  ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News ( ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.

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The Problems Parents have with Lead

by Elizabeth O'Brien

The health effects of lead extend beyond effects on IQ. Effects on learning behaviour affect educational outcome and are long term.

Clearing up lead problems has a multitude of benefits, including:

  • smarter children with less attention deficits, greater reading ability, more success at school;
  • improved personal and household hygiene which guards against illness (especially asthma) and other toxins;
  • improved nutrition;
  • removal of old paint and repainting creates a more aesthetic urban environment;
  • covering bare soil contributes to the greening of the urban environment;
  • if public housing is made lead-safe governments set a good example to the rest of the community in taking responsibility for a preventable health problem;
  • if child-care premises and schools are made lead-safe, parents can feel confident that their government cares about the educational outcome of the institutions it approves/funds. Also, parents can confidently discount the educational/child-care institution as a source of lead, should their child become lead-poisoned;
  • legislation for compulsory lead-safe certification of older houses makes purchasers of older houses feel secure that their government is protecting them;
  • legislation for lead-safe premises encourages the development of a lead abatement industry thus reducing unemployment;
  • legislation to make mandatory the certification of lead abatement contractors and assessors gives consumers faith that their government is looking after consumers' interests;
  • phasing out lead from petrol makes clear the need to legislate to control for other toxins in vehicle emissions;
  • taxing the production of lead either from mining or secondary smelting (recycling) creates a fund for lead abatement of low socio-economic housing and encourages research into alternatives to lead in products where lead is not essential;
  • legislation to reduce the ambient lead in air standard protects the health and learning potential of residents around lead mines and lead smelters and gives everyone the confidence that the health of a minority is not being sacrificed for the sake of export dollars;
  • solving lead problems makes communities and governments better at solving problems of other toxins;
  • if governments set action guidelines for soil lead levels, soil lead testing then becomes worth doing, and everyone knows what to do about contaminated soil;

Management of Lead:

Due to all the failings of government, actions by parents in the management of lead, become the most important factor in whether a child is lead poisoned or not.

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Actions Parents Can take to Cut the Flow of Lead in the Lead Flow Chart

Petrolarrow.gif (1206 bytes)Surfaces

  • Check if your car can use unleaded petrol;
  • Drive fuel-efficiently and reduce your car use;
  • Do not undertake servicing or dismantling of old cars on your property;
  • Avoid homes or child-care within 10-20 m of major roads;
  • Vote according to which party promises to eliminate lead from petrol by 1996 and still provide appropriate fuel for older cars.

Paint arrow.gif (1206 bytes) Surfaces

  • Test for lead in any pre-1970 deteriorated paint;
  • Use barrier methods and consistent clean-up until safe removal can be organised;
  • Negotiate a contract with a professional renovator with experience in lead abatement to remove lead paint hazards, guaranteeing no dispersal of lead, and approved disposal of debris;
  • Protect children, women of reproductive capacity and pets from renovation works.

Industryarrow.gif (1206 bytes)Surfaces

  • Avoid homes and child-care near lead industry;
  • Vote according to which party promises to regulate to establish a standard for lead in ambient air, instead of just a goal.

Surfacesarrow.gif (1206 bytes)Hands

  • Whether the source is petrol, paint or industry, the major pathway of lead poisoning is via soil and dust (residual) contamination. Therefore:
  • Wet down and then remove old carpets, replace with washable hard surfaces;
  • Wet wipe all hard surfaces your child may con-tact, at least fortnightly, preferably twice weekly;
  • Stop track-in of dust;
  • Cover bare soil;
  • Mop paths, verandahs;

Before purchasing a house which is likely to be lead contaminated, have a lead assessment done and negotiate a fair price for the house taking into account the cost of removing lead hazards.

Hands arrow.gif (1206 bytes) Mouth

  • Wash children's hands constantly;
  • Use a brush to clean under fingernails;
  • Don't allow children to eat away from the table;
  • Pin dummies to clothing;
  • Ensure supervision sufficient to prevent the child eating old paint or contaminated soil;

Moutharrow.gif (1206 bytes)Blood

  • Ensure adequate iron, calcium and zinc in the diet;
  • Ensure that fatty fast foods are not consumed too frequently;
  • Stick to the good food pyramid;
  • Ensure children have frequent small meals, especially before playing in the morning.

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Bloodarrow.gif (1206 bytes) Bones and Teeth

  • Fruits with lots of pectin eg apples and pears, MAY reduce blood lead levels. Eating them certainly can't hurt.

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Last Updated 14 November 2012
Copyright The LEAD Group Inc. 1991 - 2012
PO Box 161 Summer Hill NSW 2130 Australia
Phone: +61 2 9716 0014