As outdoor temperatures warm up and schools let out, young and older people alike spend more time outdoors. Summer is also a great time to take on home improvement projects. But did you know that summertime activities may increase your exposure to lead? Let’s examine why lead exposure is more prevalent in the summer and explore how to protect yourself.
What Is Lead Poisoning?
As lead builds up in your body, it can poison you. Exposure can damage your kidneys, brain, nervous and reproductive systems. Poisoning can occur via accidental ingestion, inhalation, and even skin contact. Lead poisoning is most dangerous and sometimes fatal for infants and children under six.
Lead Poisoning Symptoms
It’s extremely important to seek medical attention ASAP if you suspect you or a family member has been exposed. Here are some signs to look out for.
- Muscle Weakness
- Abdominal Pain
- Developmental Delays
A High-Risk Season For Lead Poisoning
More people test for lead in the summer. Here are some of the activities that may potentially bring about poisoning.
- Spending More Time Outside
- Opening Windows
- Doing Home Improvement Projects
High Levels Of Pollution
During the summer, people spend more time outdoors playing, doing yard work, and exercising. Outdoor activities can expose you without you even knowing. This is especially true in older neighborhoods where lead-based paint and industrial pollution are more common.
- Old Buildings / Peeling Paint
- Industrial Waste
Old Construction & Windows
Nobody wants poor air quality at home. Yet, if you live in an old house or building constructed before the 1980s, you could be causing more harm than good when you open those windows to let in fresh air. The paint on your old window sills and frames may contain lead. The action of opening and closing windows can cause bits of lead paint can flake off and become airborne.
Fixing Up Old Homes
Summer’s a great time to catch up on home improvement projects, such as repainting, remodeling, and demolishing. These activities can disturb lead-based paint, which builders commonly used in homes constructed before 1978. The dust and debris from these projects can spread throughout your home and pose a risk of summer lead poisoning.
Preventing Lead Exposure Caused By Summer Activities
Here are things you can do to reduce the risk of lead poisoning.
- Scrub your hands with hot, soapy water before eating or drinking, after being outside, and after working on household projects.
- Take off your shoes before entering your home to prevent tracking in contaminated soil and dust.
- Use a wet mop and cloth to clean your floors and surfaces frequently.
- Keep your kids away from your home improvement project area.
- Get your air quality tested by a licensed professional to determine whether or not your home has high levels of lead in the air.
Protect Your Loved Ones With Air Quality Testing
Lead poisoning is a severe health risk more prevalent in the summer than in other seasons. Everyone needs to know the symptoms and take steps to prevent exposure, including getting their indoor air tested.
In Monterey County, M3 Environmental offers hot weather air quality testing in homes and businesses. Book an appointment today and keep yourself, your kids, and your colleagues safe.