CLEVELAND, Ohio – Doctors with Cleveland Clinic Children’s are raising lead poisoning awareness to help prevent childhood exposure.

“They can be exposed at home, at school, at daycare, at grandma’s house. And really it’s when lead particles, lead paint, chips from lead paint, the dust from those chips breaks down, if those particles are ingested and it gets into the blood stream, it can cause all kinds of problems long-term for that child,” said Roopa Thakur, MD, pediatrician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.

Dr. Thakur said a child that is actively being exposed to lead may show very mild symptoms or no symptoms at all. This can sometimes develop in the form of sleeping issues, behavior problems and feelings tiredness. But in the long term, the child develop GI issues, decreased academic performance and IQ, seizures and even death.

Testing is recommended for those who are considered at-risk, though prevention can be just as important.

“We know that if we address the housing stock, repaint the window sills and reduce the lead exposure, wet mop more in the home, things like that, we can eliminate or at least reduce some of those exposures for kids and help improve their outcomes,” Dr. Thakur said.

While various treatment options exist for lead poisoning, some long-term symptoms cannot be cured.