It was only 40 years ago that lead was finally removed from paint. So it is likely that many Glebe houses have high lead levels – in old paint flakes, in the dust, in the roof spaces and even in the ground around the house.
Young children are particularly at risk from exposure to lead because :
· They are ground dwellers
· They eat soil
· Their fingers are often in their mouths
· Lead is sweet (a child might lick or suck a painted surface)
Babies and young children are good at absorbing any lead to which they are exposed.
While an adult might absorb 10%, a child could absorb as much as 50%. [By the way, animals are also at risk].
The relationship between lead in paint and neurological problems in children was first recognised in the 1890s. It can cause lowered IQ, reduce learning abilities and abnormal behaviour and can even be fatal. In Australia, 10-15% of preschoolers have higher than desirable lead levels. If you think your child might have been exposed to lead, talk to your GP who can organise a blood test.
Ideally children (particularly babies and preschoolers) and pregnant women should move out during the course of renovations at home or in nearby houses.
Further information is available from the Lead Advisory Service on 9716 0132.