Lead is a common metal that has many uses. It may be present in your home in old layers of paint, in water pipes, or in certain household items and toys. But it is also harmful, if it enters into your bloodstream Exposure to even low levels of lead can cause harmful effects on anyones health, and can also affect childrens development. Pregnant women must also be careful, as lead can pass through the placenta.
Of course you wouldnt knowingly expose your family to lead! So follow these easy household dos and donts to reduce peoples exposure to environmental lead in your home:
DO have your water tested for lead content, if you suspect you are connected to older pipes and fittings. You can also find out about the types of pipes installed in your neighbourhood from your municipality.
DONT use hot tap water to make hot beverages (like tea or coffee), to mix infant formula, or to fill a pot to get it boiling faster on the stove. If lead is in your water, hot tap water is likely to contain more of it.
DO paint over any areas of old exposed paint on your walls, etc., especially if your house was built before 1960. Base coats could contain high levels of lead, which was used as a paint fixative.
DO have old paint that is peeling or chipping tested for lead, and take corrective action if needed. You can simply paint over exposed areas of old paint if the lead-based paint is in good condition..
DONT create airborne lead dust when sanding or scraping old, cracking, peeling or chipping painted surfaces. Lead dust can be breathed in, and could contaminate your home. Take measures to keep down the dust, or use a chemical stripper instead.
DO check for toy and consumer product recalls at Healthy Canadians.
DONT assume older or hand-me-down toys are lead-free.
Watch Health Canada video on lead
To learn more about this and other environmental health risks, please visit Hazardcheck
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