We know your family is the thing that matters most to you, which is why we wanted to tell you about some of the super simple, easy to implement things you can do to reduce your exposure to lead, and keep you and your family safe.
At TLAP, we offer two main services that can help protect you and your family. The first is the Port Pirie Homes and Houses program – a free service where we work with you to identify and reduce or remove sources of lead in your home. The second is our free in-home soil testing program for families that are pregnant or thinking about having a baby. By taking advantage of these valuable programs, you can help to ensure your home is healthy and dust-free for your children and family. Get in touch with us today to register for our programs for families.
Here are some other tips to help reduce your family’s exposure to lead.
For your Health:
There’s a reason why they call breakfast the most important meal of the day. Research shows that children who don’t eat breakfast can absorb up to seven times more lead than a child who does. That’s why it’s so important that your child starts the day off right with a tummy full of healthy food.
Enjoy a healthy and balanced diet
Aim to eat five serves of vegetables and two serves of fruit per day. You’ll also want to make sure you maintain a diet that is high in fibre, iron, and calcium, as all these nutrients help to decrease the rate of lead absorption. Fruits, vegetables, bran-based cereals, wholegrain or wholemeal breads, and pastas are all a great source of fibre. For iron, aim for one serve (120-150 grams, which is approximately the size of the palm of your hand) of lean meat every day. For calcium, try and fit in two or three serves of dairy every day. One serve of calcium equals one cup of milk (250ml), one small tub of yoghurt (200g), or two slices of cheese (40g).
Reduce the amount of fat in your diet
Try to limit your intake of foods that are high in fat, as they increase the absorption of lead. This includes added fats (such as butter, margarine, oil, cream, and salad dressings), visible fats (found in red meat and chicken skin), and hidden fats (found in fast foods, full fat dairy products, nuts, cakes, biscuits, chocolates, and so on).
You can limit the amount of fat in your diet by choosing low fat varieties of milk and cheese, lean meats, and skinless chicken or fish. Always trim any visible fat or skin from meat and chicken, and opt for steaming or grilling over frying. You should also steer clear of deep-fried and takeaway foods, as well as heavily processed meats and smallgoods like fritz or salami.
Drink plenty of water
It’s a good idea to make water your family’s main drink. Avoid drinking cordial, iced coffees, juice, or soft drinks on a regular basis, as these are all high in sugar.
Make sure you always drink tap water, not rainwater (as this can have high lead levels, which will remain even after boiling).
Wash and dry your hands before eating
Lead can be found on children’s hands, especially when they have been playing outside or in the garden. The amount of lead contamination on children’s hands has been directly linked to the lead level in their blood, so washing them frequently and thoroughly, especially before mealtimes, can greatly reduce their exposure.
It’s also important to wash and dry your own hands before preparing food, eating, and drinking. If you’ve been cleaning the house or working in the garden, it’s also best to wash and dry your hands before touching or playing with your children.
Don’t let your children eat on the floor
Never allow children to eat food when they’re on the floor or ground unless a barrier, such as a clean sheet, towel, or blanket, has been put down first.
Get your blood tested at the Environmental Health Centre
Getting your and your family members’ blood tested is one of the best ways to see how much lead is in your blood, and find out how you can reduce your exposure to lead moving forward. It is recommended that all children under the age of five are tested. This blood test can be carried out at the Environmental Health Centre.
Also, the Environmental Health Centre offers a range of services to help community members reduce their overall exposure to lead. If you are worried about how lead exposure might be impacting you and your family, the Centre is a great source of information and education, to assist you in developing exposure reduction strategies to keep your family safe.
Contact the EHC on 08 8638 4100 or visit their site.
Around the Home:
Leave shoes outside the home
Lead can be carried into your home on the soles of your shoes, so it’s important that you leave any outdoor footwear outside.
Wash and brush your pets outside
Your pets may carry dust containing lead on their coats. Washing and brushing pets outside on a regular basis minimises the amount of dust that comes into your home.
Also, wash and dry your children’s hands after they’ve been playing with pets.
Always wash any toys that have been outside the house
Toys have been outside of the home can quickly gather dust, and that dust can contain lead. Always wipe down toys with a damp cloth, or hose them down before use.
Use damp dusting and damp mopping to damp down the dust
Always mop floors rather than sweeping them, and always wet wipe tables and surfaces. Both of these things limit the amount of dust being scattered back into the air.
Be prepared and plan ahead if you’re going to renovate
Many Port Pirie homes have lead dust build-up in the ceiling and wall cavities. If this lead dust is disturbed during renovations or maintenance works, it can pose a risk of exposure to residents. For this reason, care and precautions must be taken to minimise the risk of exposure.
Pregnant women and young children should not be present during any renovations. Families should be relocated until the works are completed.