A.P. started walking when he was 9 months old. He was running before he was a year. He was able to get into things before he really understood the word ‘no’. He also has some hearing issues we didn’t know about yet, so he couldn’t always hear me anyway. Good times.
Soon after he started walking, he was standing in his favorite spot, right next to the dog and in front of the living room window of our 57 year old house, facing the street. “How sweet”, I thought. “A boy and his dog looking out the OH MY GOD IS HE EATING PAINT CHIPS?”
I had recently heard some news about the dangers of lead poisoning in children. I called the pediatrician’s office immediately, who said not to worry; they test children at 9 months when most of them start crawling. So my baby had been eating paint chips for 3 months already? The pediatrician’s office reassured me that it takes a ‘lot of lead’ to poison a baby. Not satisfied with that answer, I hung up and called the Kent County Health Department. The person I talked with said I needed to have him tested immediately. I had that done and the results were not so good. A blood lead level of 10 is where they start to get worried. A.P. was at a 9, but really, no lead is good lead.
We got in contact with a program called, “Get The Lead Out“. We attended lead education classes, and had an assessment done of our home. They determined what the danger zones were, and did work to eliminate as much of the risk as possible. As was the case in many older homes, the windows were the biggest source of lead, but there were other locations as well.
The Michigan Department of Community Health makes specific recommendations for which children should be tested here. If you live in an older home, or have other risk factors present, I strongly urge you to take a look at the Healty Homes Coalition’s website. Even if your home is newer, if you child spends a significant amount of time at an older home for childcare or at a relative’s house, you should still consider getting a blood lead test done for your child. There is also information about lead in toys, and recall information on the Parent Resource Page of the site.
Special thanks to Paul Haan for his help with this!