Our charming historic home has a dark side behind every wall and on every ceiling — a thing that threatens the well-being of my child and any future children we might have.
The former owners coated their home in lead paint, and today that paint is flaking and falling to the floor. When we use some of the door jams and window sills, more paint chips tumble and lead dust is created. All of these things create a very dangerous environment for a curious 9-month-old baby.
By ingesting a few chips here and there and a little dust on his toy, my Squiggle could have lead poisoning. The body is not designed to have any lead in it. Thus, only a little lead in the blood (more than 10 micrograms per decaliter or μg/DL) can inhibit brain development. As the amount of lead found in the bloodstream increases, a child can have develop severe mental and physical handicaps.
The potential effects of lead are frightening, and I spend many sleepless nights praying for my child’s safety. Fortunately, the Squiggle’s had a blood lead level of 6 μg/DL at his last doctor’s appointment. So, while he’s had some exposure to the poisonous substance, it has not yet reached threatening levels.
My husband and I are attempting to address the issue, but life seems to interrupt our plans all too often. Who could predict that the car we purchased would require a complete engine overhaul? How could we have known that we would need to take a trip to Vermont for a family emergency?
While we wait for the time to complete a home-overhaul, I have been discovered several ways of mitigating the affects of lead. Most of my information comes from Richard Stapleton’s book, Lead is a Silent Hazard.
- Keep the baby away from lead-laden areas. We live in about a third of our house, and the baby is allowed to play in about a third of that area.
- Wash your hands and your child’s hands before preparing and serving food.
- Wash toys frequently. (I do this about twice a month, but I should probably do it more often.)
- Damp mop floors, window sills, and door frames. Initially, I had been vacuuming paint chips, but this can aerosolize the lead dust. Now I mop using a cleaning product called Tri-Sodium Phosphate. It’s toxic if ingested and caustic if handled directly, but phosphate binds to lead dust and allows it to be removed. I consider it medicine for my floors. I wouldn’t use it but to treat a more serious issue.
- A healthy diet can reduce the amount of lead absorbed by the body. Lead mimic various necessary minerals in the body, and the theory is that if a person consumes a high quantity of necessary. I will cover this in more depth in another post, but for now, I’ll summarize my research. The best foods to reduce lead poisoning are those high in iron, calcium, vitamin C, vitamin E and selenium.