(Dover, Ohio) – Every day Americans are exposed to health hazards in their homes.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Americans spend about 90 percent of their time indoors. Indoor hazards include mold, lead, radon, carbon monoxide, tobacco smoke, and pests. As Americans spend so much of their time indoors, especially now with COVID-19, these hazards can have negative effects on health including lead poisoning.
The Tuscarawas County Health Department has joined the Ohio Department of Health to promote lead poisoning prevention efforts. In celebration of Healthy Homes Awareness Month, we distributed 250 cleaning kits throughout Tuscarawas County, along with information about how you can protect yourself and your loved ones from lead poisoning and other home health hazards.
About 3.6 million American households have children under 6 years of age who live in homes with lead exposure hazards. According to the CDC, about 500,000 American children between the ages of 1 and 5 years have blood lead levels greater than or equal to the level of the blood reference value, the level at which CDC recommends public health actions.
Lead can be found inside and outside the home, including in the water that travels through lead pipes or in the soil around the house. However, the most common source of exposure is from lead-based paint, which was used in many homes built before 1978. Adults and children can get lead into their bodies by breathing in the lead dust (especially during activities such as renovations, repairs or painting) or by swallowing lead dust that settles on food, food preparation surfaces, floors, window sills, and other places, or eating paint chips or soil that contain lead. Children can also become exposed to lead dust from adults’ jobs or hobbies, and from some metal toys or toys painted with lead-based paint. Children are not exposed equally to lead, nor suffer its consequences in the same way. These disparities unduly burden minority families and low-income families and their communities.
Each year the Ohio Department of Health releases a list of the high-risk zip codes in each County. High-risk zip codes in Tuscarawas County include 44683, 44621, 44663, 43840, and 44675. Testing is mandatory for children at 12 months and 24 months for Medicaid recipients as well as for those who live in high-risk zip codes. If you think your child may be at risk for lead poisoning, ask your doctor about having a blood lead test.