Lead poisoning is entirely preventable and, in most cases, goes unnoticed until its long term effects including brain damage, mental retardation, learning disabilities, developmental delay, and behavioral and attention problems are evident.
The main sources of lead in South Carolina are related to contaminated soil and dust, and chipping lead-based paint in older houses, particularly those built prior to 1950. Certain occupations / vocations, such as those related to battery manufacture and hobbies or crafts involving the use of lead, such as stained glass and ceramics, also present higher risks of exposure. Some children have also been poisoned by imported vinyl mini-blinds and toys.
Although it is important to screen children to detect cases of lead poisoning and provide them with follow-up care, it is far more important to try to prevent children from being exposed to lead. Public and parental awareness of common sources of lead, proper hand washing, and good nutrition all help limit the amount of lead to which children are exposed.
To learn more about lead, check out the Centers for Disease Control’s web pages at http://www.cdc.gov/lead or call our toll-free number (1-866-466-5323).
You can also learn more by downloading two of our Look Out For Lead brochures.
For more information, please contact Lucy H. Gibson, MSW, LMSW Director, Division of Children's Health, at 803-898-1580 or GIBSONLH@dhec.sc.gov.