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Toxic: The dangers of lead exposure

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COLUMBIA (WACH)-Lead exposure can affect a child's brain, development or over all health and parents may never suspect it.

Every day we come in contact with water, soil, paint, toys and even jewelry, but the real dangers some of them carry aren't visible to the natural eye.

Lead poisioning is considered the most preventable environmental disease in young children yet half a million children have blood lead levels of 5 (?g/dL) or greater.

"It can impact on their neuro developmental milestones can cause seizures, brain swelling, and then it can have some other side effects like anemia and abdominal pain," said Dr. James Stallworth, Clinical Professor of Pediatrics at The University of South Carolina.

According to the Center's for Disease Control, if you live in a home built before 1978 you should assume that the paint has lead in it, unless its been tested to show otherwise

Doctor Stallworth says children under the age of six are more at risk because they're constantly growing and tend to put their hands, toys, or other objects, into their mouths.

"And then that lead based paint could chip," said Stallworth, "and then the children playout outside or what not, hand to mouth, could pick up the lead, expose it to their mouths, ingest it and then have the toxic effects that I mentioned."

There are also everyday things you can do to prevent exposure:

-Prevent children from playing in bare soil, instead give them sandboxes

-Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.

-Wash children's hands and toys regurlarly

-Wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window components, because household dust is a major source for lead.

Dr. Stallworth said, "The number one treatment is to find where they're getting the lead and get rid of it. In other words, get rid of the lead exposure, find the source, be sure the child does not get continued exposure to that source."

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