Lead poisoning is an important cause of learning disabilities, anemia, growth problems and children exposed to lead may have problems with paying attention and being aggressive. Children are most commonly exposed to lead by the ingestion of paint chips or dirt that is contaminated with lead. Prior to 1977, lead was an ingredient of paint, so children living in older homes with chipping paint are most at risk for lead poisoning. See the Lead Poisoning Guide for more information.
Take our quiz to see if your child is at risk of lead poisoning. Unanswered questions will considered to be a 'yes' or 'Don't Know' response.
Do your children?
1) Live in or often visit a house that was built before 1950.
2) Live in or often visit a house that was built before 1978 and is being remodeled.
3) Have playmates or friends that have high lead levels.
4) Live in a zip code where more than 27% of the housing was built before 1950 (check with your local health department to see if you live in a high risk area).
5) Belong to a high risk group, including living in poverty, receiving aid from Medicaid and/or WIC.
Your child may also need to be screened for lead poisoning if he has any of the following risk factors that place him at risk for being exposed to lead:
6) Eats or chews on nonfood things (called pica), such as paint chips or dirt.
7) Has family members that work at a place or has a hobby that involves any of the following:
battery manufacture or repair
house construction or repair
going to a firing range
stained glass with lead solder
brass or copper foundry
valve and pipe fittings
bridge, tunnel and elevated highway construction
industrial machinery or equipment
casting ammunition, fishing weights or toy soldiers
burning lead painted wood
automotive repair shop
8) Lives or plays near an area with any of the following:
hazardous waste site
place where batteries are manufactured or repaired
house construction site
heavily traveled major highway
place where cars are abandoned or repaired
9) Consumes any of the following products:
medicines (especially home remedies) imported from another country, including:
pay-loo-ah (fever and rash treatment).
azarcon (a Mexican treatment for intestinal blockage or 'empacho' that is 90% lead. Also called Maria Luisa, Liga, Alarzon, Greta, Coral and Rueda. It is a bright orange powder).
Asian folk remedies, including Ghasard (a brown powder used to aid digestion), Bali Goli (a round, flat black bean that is dissolved in water) and Kandu (a red powder used to treat stomachaches).
Middle Eastern folk remedies, including farouk (teething) and bint al zahab (colic).
nutritional pills other than vitamins
cosmetics like surma or kohl
10) Lives in a home in which the plumbing has lead pipes, lead solder or lead containing holding tanks.
11) Eats foods that are cooked or stored in imported or glazed pottery.
12) Eats foods that are canned outside the United States.
13) Frequently chews on keys (which often contain small amounts of lead).
14) Has access to other lesser known sources of lead, including:
Important disclaimer: The information on keepkidshealthy.com is for educational purposes only and should not be considered to bemedical advice. It is not meant to replace the advice of the physician who cares for your child. All medical advice and information should be considered to be incomplete without a physical exam, which is not possible without a visit to your doctor.