Lead in drinking water has been all over the news in recent months. Should we be concerned about lead poisoning in King County?
In King County, water is not a common source for lead. Lead in drinking water usually comes from pipes or fittings. These are five things to know about lead in drinking water.
Lead from paint is the most common and dangerous source of exposure. Lead was added to house paint before it was banned in residential paint in 1978, so if your home was built before then, you may have paint with lead in it where you live. This is a concern because as old paint cracks and peels, it creates dangerous dust.
Children under six are most at risk for lead poisoning because their bodies are developing. If you are concerned that your child may have been exposed to lead, talk with your health care provider. The only way to know for sure if a person has been exposed to lead is to do a blood test.
How can you keep your family safer and reduce exposure to lead paint?
- Reduce your exposure to possible lead dust in your home by dusting with a damp cloth and using a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
- Keep children away from peeling paint. Lead tastes sweet and children have been known to eat paint flakes.
- If you are remodeling the home you own and live in, and it was built before 1978, follow safe remodeling practices to reduce exposure. If you hire someone, they must be a lead certified contractor.
Another source of lead in our area is contaminated soil. Lead is in soil due to many years of lead in gasoline and years of contamination by regional smelters. Reduce your family’s exposure to lead in soil:
- Remove shoes before going inside
- Cover bare patches in your yard with ground cover
- Keep pets clean.
If you have questions call staff at our Household Hazards Line at 206-296-4692, Monday to Friday, except holidays, from 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
You can’t watch children all the time. So how can you keep them safer?
If you have unwanted hazardous products you could get them out of your home and away from curious hands.
How can you tell which products under the sink or in the closet are hazardous?
Look on the label. If you see the words DANGER or POISON, that means the product is very harmful.
If you see the words CAUTION or WARNING, that means the products is somewhat harmful.
And if you don’t see CAUTION, WARNING, DANGER OR POISON on the product label, that means the product is safer to use.
So if you want to get rid of hazardous products you don’t want, what do you do?
- You aren’t supposed to throw them in the trash.
- Instead, take them to a disposal site, at no cost.
Getting rid of hazardous products you no longer use can help keep you and your family safer.
October is Children’s Health Month!
EPA has put together a fabulous organizer’s tool kit for the month including a beautiful logo, tips to promote prenatal health and four fact sheets about the environmental health disparities in Black, African American, Hispanic and Latino American Children. Check out the wonderful information that EPA has put together at their website.
Johnson & Johnson will phase out chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems from its baby and adult products over the next 3 ½ years. The product brands include Aveeno, Neutrogena, Clean & Clear and Johnson’s Baby Shampoo. Thanks to the Campaign for Safe Cosmetics for their persistence in their work to get this agreement from J&J. More here. http://abcnews.go.com/Health/wireStory/jj-removing-harsh-chemicals-products-2015-17010871
Keep kids safe this summer by properly storing hazardous household products
Children are naturally curious and explore their homes where many hazardous but common household products are kept. The third most-common call to the Washington Poison Center is about accidental exposure to cleaning products.
“Even the best parent can’t supervise a child all the time and easy-to-do prevention can make your home a safe place for your child to explore,” said Dr. Beth Ebel, director of Harborview Injury Prevention and Research Center at the University of Washington.
The Local Hazardous Waste Management Program in King County has assembled easy tips for a safer home this summer. Find the complete list at www.hazwastehelp.org/hazardsinyourhome
Top safety tips include:
- Store products safely. Lock cabinets, or take a new look at where you keep cleaners, air fresheners, or medicines.
- Keep hazardous products in their original containers. The labels have the product information on them, the hazards and first aid – all of this is critical information if your child is exposed to products. Even adults can mistake toxics for food if cleaning products, automotive fluids or other hazardous items are not stored in their original containers.
- Get rid of unwanted hazardous products at no charge. Disposal is free at household hazardous waste disposal facilities, including the Wastemobile. A list of locations is at http://www.hazwastehelp.org.
- Clean out your medicine cabinet and store medicines safely. Safely dispose of medicines that are unwanted or expired – use a no cost medicine take-back program at a drop-off location. Store medicines safely by keeping them out of reach – lock them in a drawer, cabinet or medicine lock box. More information at TakeBackYourMeds.org.
For more information or for free Mr. Yuk stickers, call the Household Hazards Line, 206-296-4692, or 1-888-TOXIC ED, Monday–Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., or the Washington Poison Center, 1-800-222-1222, 24 hours a day. For a list of upcoming household hazardous waste collection events, visit http://www.lhwmp.org/home/NewsEvents/.