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The Truth about Lead: Part 3

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Continued from PAGE 2...

In light of recent toy recalls and rising fears about lead in pipes, paint and toys, Dr. Cara Natterson weighs in:

"If and when there is another toy recall for leaded paint, don't panic. Clear the toys out of your house if you have a toddler who puts everything in his mouth. But if you have older kids who are no longer oral and who wash their hands well, and if you only have a few potential hazards here and there, you don't need to break out in a cold sweat.

"It is a better use of your time and energy to consider more likely sources of lead. There are lots of Web sites with good basic information about identifying lead risks in your own home. If you live in a home built before 1978 and it has not been completely remodeled (or the paint has not been stripped), you can consider lead abatement. This needs to be done by a professional. There is no point in trying to remove the leaded paint from your home all the while exposing yourself and your family to lead in the process.

"You should also think about lead exposure if your pipes are leaded or use lead solder. Water can be tested for lead content. Warm water leaches lead much better than cold, so if you think you could have lead in your pipes, use only cold tap water for drinking and cooking. Many people also suggest running the tap for 15 to 30 seconds prior to use to wash out the lead residue.

"Do not buy canned foods imported from other countries if possible. The U.S. has banned the use of lead solder in canned foods, but imported cans may still use lead.

The bottom line on lead: Ask your pediatrician to check your child's lead level if it hasn't already been done. This is a fairly easy test and can be very reassuring."

Dr. Cara Natterson, author of Your Toddler: Head To Toe is a pediatrician and mother of 2. To buy a copy of her book, click here. She is currently working on the forthcoming book entitled Dangerous or Safe?

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