Unfortunately, lead poisoning is not caused by listening to Stairway To Heaven too much. Exposure to lead, through lead paint or professional work with batteries and auto repair, can have a devastating impact on the body and mind, especially in children. Many homes include lead based paint inspections as a part of all necessary home inspections, but if you're not sure one was ever completed, here are a few reasons to expedite the process and get one done immediately.
Prevalence: Lead paint is more common than you'd think. The damaging effects of lead paint weren't understood and banned until 1940 -- houses built before that could contain paint comprised of up to 50% lead. In many Northeastern cities, between 20% and 32% of homes were built before that cutoff. Many have most likely already been inspected and corrected, but the overwhelming prevalence of houses that may contain lead paint shouldn't be ignored.
Symptoms: Lead can be in the body for a long time before symptoms manifest. Additionally, many may be misdiagnosed as other illnesses or ailments. In adults, keep an eye on the following: high blood pressure, muscle and joint pain, headaches, difficulties memories or concentration, and abdominal pain. Pregnant women may miscarry or go into labor prematurely if they are suffering from lead poisoning.
Children are the most vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning. Increased levels of lead in the bloodstream can cause severe development issues if not taken care of immediately, in addition to weight loss, fatigue, vomiting, and seizures. Since children learn by putting things in their mouths, they are especially at risk of consuming lead-based items that could make them extremely ill and even cause death.
The best thing you can do as a homeowner and parent is simply be vigilant. Keep an eye out for symptoms, and don't skimp on lead based paint inspections; find a reputable company that has your best interest in mind so no one in your family has to suffer from the physical and mental effects of lead poisoning. Play some Led Zeppelin while you teach your kids about the importance of keeping a safe and healthy home, and they'll be none the wiser.