Is Your Child at Risk of Lead Poisoning?
All children are at risk of lead poisoning. Although lead is present in our environment naturally, it can be toxic when it enters the human body. Lead poisoning can damage the brain and nervous system, leading to learning and behavior problems, slow growth, and development delays. Lead poisoning can also result in hearing and speech problems.
Lead poisoning is preventable, but there are no early warning symptoms for lead exposure. All children need a blood lead test on or before their first birthday and on their second birthday. Your primary care provider (PCP) will ask questions at every well child visit from six months through six years old to determine if your child needs earlier or additional testing.
If your baby is one year old and has not had a blood lead test, it is important to call your provider right away to make arrangements for the test. Do not wait! If you have any problems getting the test or want more information on why lead tests are important, Maryland Physicians Care can help. Just call Member Services at 1-800-953-8854.
Children can become exposed to lead by:
- Putting hands in their mouths after crawling or touching lead-contaminated dust
- Touching or eating peeling paint containing lead
- Drinking water that comes from lead pipes
- Playing in lead-contaminated soil
- Eating food made with lead-containing imported spices or candies
- Using ceremonial make-up or powders that contain lead
- Living with adults whose jobs or hobbies involve working with lead
- Cooking or serving food in certain imported pottery