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Reduce kids' exposure to lead


Learn how to avoid lead, a toxic heavy metal, which can cause coma and death at high levels.

The organization Lead Free Kids is on a mission to reduce lead exposure in children. Lead is a toxic heavy metal, which can cause coma and death at high levels. There is no safe level of lead exposure, yet in the US alone, 250,000 children have elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Some of the consequences of lead exposure in children include impaired growth and development, behavioural issues, and damage to the brain and nervous system. There is also a connection between lead exposure and ADHD.

Children are more susceptible as they are growing and developing. Pregnant women should also be especially careful of their own lead exposure, as this may affect their baby.

Sources of lead include:

  • inexpensive jewellery
  • children’s toys (generally those imported from overseas and painted)
  • paint, including painted jungle-gym equipment, and especially pre-1980s buildings
  • electronic waste 
  • makeup, including lipstick

 How to combat lead exposure

  • Avoid the products listed above, and opt for natural, chemical-free, not-imported options instead.
  • When doing a home renovation or decorating, choose lead-free paint. If you rent and cannot do renovations of your own, report chipped paint to your landlord.
  • Do a detox, which may help to flush away heavy metals (but please note that cleanses may not be suitable for children). Foods rich in vitamin C, calcium, and iron are especially helpful.

Extra tips for keeping kids away from lead

  • Don’t let children chew on painted surfaces.
  • Keep your child’s play area dust free, as dust can accumulate toxins.
  • Wash your child’s hands frequently, and especially before meals.
  • If you’re concerned about your child’s possible lead exposure, see your family doctor who can perform a blood test.


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Matthew Kadey, MSc, RDMatthew Kadey, MSc, RD