Hennepin County: Products Containing ‘Dangerous’ Lead More Common Than You Might Think
It’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week and Hennepin County officials are raising awareness about lead contamination. People often think about paint when it comes to lead poisoning, but the dangerous substance can be found in items you might not suspect.
Lead is a toxic mineral often found in paint in homes built before 1978. Lead-based paint can create dust that people unknowingly inhale.
“Most of the houses in Hennepin County were built before pre-1978,” said Zoua Pha, lead prevention and education specialist for Hennepin County.
Pha says the harmful element can also be found in some imported jewelry, traditional pottery, dishes, toys, spices and other foods. Pha used a unique device to check lead levels in some everyday household items. She put red food coloring to the test and the results showed lead.
The lead expert also analyzed one of our reporter’s keys. Surprisingly, it had a positive reading. Pha recommended keeping the keys away from children.
Lead can be hazardous for young children. It can damage the brain and cause behavior issues when absorbed into the body.
Hennepin County has a free lead prevention program where they will come to your house and check for lead.
“We want to make sure that our residents are healthy and safe,” said Pha.
This month, HUD awarded $6.7 million to Hennepin County to help protect families and children from lead-based paint hazards and additional home health hazards. It’s the largest single award that Hennepin County has received for lead prevention and awareness.