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Lead poisoning prevention starts at home

Lead paint in older homes is a serious issue that everyone should know about, especially if there are young children in the house.  From Spring cleaning to regular maintenance, imagine how many times you clean and dust around your windows without thinking about the lead paint dust that ends up in the air. The good news is that you can do something about it.

 

Here in Minnesota, we’re fortunate to have the Sustainable Resources Center (SRC) that’s dedicated to creating and maintaining healthy homes. Their mission is for all families to live in a house that is safe, energy efficient, has clean indoor air free of mold and toxins, pests, and excess moisture. Their weatherization, energy conservation, lead hazard removal, and healthy homes education staff works with local communities to ensure that mission, often at little to no cost to the clients through grant programs.

 

The SRC works closely with the Hennepin County Lead Removal Program to deal with the lead paint problem that exists in homes built before 1978. Together, the groups are focused on education, lead removal and providing replacement window grants for those who qualify.

 

Justine Bowman, the SRC community health educator specializing in lead hazard prevention and healthy homes advocacy says the first step is to get your home tested, “If you live in a home and there's chipping and peeling paint on the windows, call us to schedule a free in-home visit. After that visit, we'll get you in contact with Hennepin County's programs. And if you qualify, there is a $15,000 grant to help remove these lead-based paint hazards.”

 

If you think you may have lead paint in your home, there are five prevention measures that you can take today:


1.Stay away from peeling paint. Most importantly, don't let children touch or play around chipping or deteriorated paint

2.Leave your shoes at the door. Doing so before entering the house really does help avoid lead contaminated soil from entering your house.

3.Keep your home dust free. Just opening and closing windows creates dust, so make sure you're washing your window wells, window sills and floors regularly, especially in the summer. 4. Wash your hands before you eat and after playing outside. You may be exposed to lead dust and contaminated soil without knowing it.

5.Eat foods that are rich in calcium, iron, and vitamin C. When children are getting enough calcium, iron and vitamin C , they are less likely to absorb lead into their system.

 

The number one thing you want to do, if you know or think your child has been exposed lead, is to get him or her tested. The Sustainable Resources Center offers free lead testing for children that are five and younger and also for pregnant and nursing mothers. The test is just a simple finger poke and they get the results in three minutes right there on site.

 

As Baumann adds, “We have plenty of summer events coming up in the community and if anyone would like to attend one of our free community events or like a presentation at their agency, please reach out to us. We have a group of great community health educators ready to help.”

 

For information about May and June testing sites and the lead removal program, contact the Sustainable Resources Center at 612-870-4255 or via their website, src-mn.org.

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