Children are most vulnerable to lead poisoning for the reasons listed below.
- The brain and neurological system of children continues to develop for several years after birth. Lead interferes with this developmental growth.
- Young children are frequently putting objects in their mouths, which can include paint chips, dirt, dust, and contaminated water or food.
- Children’s skin is thinner and thus lead is more easily absorbed through the skin.
Factors that place a child in the high-risk category include:
- A child whose family receives Medicaid
- A child of a minority culture
- A child living in or visiting neighborhoods with homes built before 1950
- If a child living in or visiting a home built before 1978, that has had remodeling done within the last six months
- Any child living in apartments or high-rise buildings
- If a child has a sibling or playmate that has or has had lead poisoning
Women who are pregnant should consider the same precautions used for reducing the risk of lead poisoning in children to help protect the fetus from exposure to lead.