Lead Prevention Week: How to Stay Safe

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DECATUR – Loss of appetite, irritability or trouble sleeping… sounds like a simple illness, but it could be something more serious like lead poisoning. If you live in Decatur, you could be at high risk.

"So much of our housing stock here in Decatur was built before 1970, so all the old housing stock in Decatur could contain lead paint" Bill Faber, a lawyer who has dealt with lawsuits in the past for parents of children who have had lead poisoning, says.

"It’s like pouring maple syrup in a baby’s brain, it slows down the connections," Faber adds.

It's not just paint in homes, but lead paint on toys, lead dust, or even lead in soil can cause poisoning. There's a simple way to find out if your child is at risk.

"You can get a finger stick here at the health department and if the number is high then there will be an local or state intervention that is done," Brandi Binkley with the Macon County Health Department says.

A high number means a risk for lead poisoning. 

But like with other health concerns, prevention is key.

"With lead, it’s better to prevent the poisoning then worrying what to do about it once your child has tested high" says Binkley.      

One way to do this is getting your home check and fix any hazards you may have -- even if you don't the funds for large renovations.

“You can do a temporary fix and put duct-tape or contact paper on the peeling paint." Binkley continues. 

But if you try to remove lead based paint yourself it can put your family at risk so it's important to contact a professional. 

For more information on lead poison and for testing information -- you can contact your local health department. In Macon County, testing is free for some families and just 30-dollars for others.

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