The Risk of Lead Poisoning is Everywhere!

Vox worked with the Washington State Department of Health to map lead exposure risk nationally. Housing and poverty data were used in their calculations to show areas of risk. None of these cases are from confirmed lead poisoning, but show the places that public health researchers have identified as having the highest risk for lead. SEE MAP

Where is lead found? In pipes, paint, water supply, glass, equipment and even the soil. It’s a far bigger problem then most are aware of, but some cities are working hard to rid their neighborhoods of lead, as well as, inform the public of the risks. If you’re living in an older home, built before 1980, it is possible that the pipes, the paint and your popcorn ceiling can contain a toxic substance. 

Many families decide to renovate their home or a room before the arrival of their first child, and this is where the initial exposure can occur. So before you start to rip out those wall or do any renovation, be sure to get samples and have them check by a local agency.

“As a parent, I found it very alarming,” says Holly Davies, who works in Washington’s Department of Ecology on lead exposure reduction. “My son was born in West Virginia, and there it was standard practice that at one year they get screened [for lead poisoning risk]. But here it wasn’t a standard thing; I was the one who had to bring it up.”

Fortunately, in some areas of the country this is a standard practice. Luckily, we lived in an area where routine screening for lead poisoning was conducted on all children through the first year. What may surprise some, it was a small suburb in the Phoenix metropolitan area, Tempe, Arizona.

During our son’s visit, we were asked a list of questions about the environment he was exposed to during his first year. They went to great lengths to assess the risk, as well as, test for exposure in his body. I didn’t realize how important this was until we started reading about the many risks around the country.

Sadly, many are still unaware of the problem, and currently, could be putting their family at risk. Wondering what to do and who to ask? Call your local health department or your health care provider and get more information about the risk in your hometown.


Source: Vox, EPA