Lead is a toxin that can be especially harmful to children under the age of 6. Before the health risks associated with lead were known, it was used in many products. Before 1978, it was found in paint. House paint bought today does not have lead in it, but houses built before 1978 often still have old lead paint. Lead dust from old paint is the most common way children get lead poisoning.
Lead dust collects on surfaces where children put their hands and play with toys. Children under 6 are at a high risk for lead poisoning because they often put their hands and toys into their mouths. This makes it very easy for lead dust to get into and damage their growing bodies.
Lead can have a very serious and permanent effect on a child’s growth and development. Lead can cause:
- Learning disabilities
- Behavioral problems
- Hearing damage
- Language or speech delays
- Lower intelligence
The State of Maine requires blood lead tests for all children at 1 and 2 years of age. The only way to know if your child has lead poisoning is to get your child tested.