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Five ways to protect children from lead poisoning

Release Date: 10/24/2006
Contact Information: Bonnie Smith (215) 814-5543

PHILADELPHIA – There's an old saying, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." When it comes to lead poisoning, prevention makes sense. The week of October 22 has been designated as National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and the United States Environmental Protection Agency encourages parents and property-owners who own housing built prior to 1978 to get their homes tested for lead risks and their children tested for lead poisoning.

    "Our message to parents is that EPA wants to help make your home healthy and safe for your children," said Donald S. Welsh, mid-Atlantic regional administrator. "While childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the United States, the good news is that it is entirely preventable."

    EPA suggests the following ways to prevent lead poisoning:

    1. Wash It Out! - Wash your children's hands often, and their toys, as well. Wash your floors and windowsills with water and detergent.

    2. Eat It Out! - Serve a diet high in calcium (milk and dairy products) and iron (beef, leafy vegetables, eggs). This will reduce the amount of lead the body will hold.

    3. Run It Out! - Always run cold tap water for 2-3 minutes before using for cooking or drinking and never use hot tap water to drink, eat, or cook.

    4. Keep It Out! - Don=t let children play in the dirt because lead in soil can be a hazard. In addition, the children can track the soil into the house where it could become a hazard. Hire trained workers for any job that disturbs the paint. If you plan to rent housing built before 1978, ask the landlord about lead poisoning and known lead hazards.

    5. Check It Out! - Have your children (age 6 or younger) tested for lead! It is the only way to detect for lead poisoning!

    EPA is joining other federal, State and local governments and non-profit organizations across the country participating in the eighth annual Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, October 22 through 28, 2006, to raise awareness about the health risks associated with lead paint. For additional information about lead poisoning prevention and children's health, go to EPA’s website at: or call 1-800-424-LEAD.