Lead has become a hot topic in parenting circles the last few years. It seems sometimes that not a week goes by that there is not a recall on a toy, a piece of jewelry or a type of furniture. It used to be that all we had to worry about was old paint, but not anymore. And here’s another source of lead to be aware of – your keys.
Brass keys generally contain about 2% lead, which makes the metal easier to cut. And when keys rub together, they create dust which can contain lead. To make matters worse, it can be difficult to figure out which of your keys may contain lead.
All of this means that keys are a potential source of lead exposure, which is particularly important for parents and pregnant women to know. Pregnant women should wash their hands after handling keys and wash their purse regularly if keys are kept in a pocket. And parents should never let their child play with or mouth keys.
Lead is most harmful to pregnant women and small children for many reasons, including:
- it can negatively affect growth
- it can cause damage to the nervous system
- it can cause behavioral and learning problems
- small children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths
Some simple ways to protect your family from lead include: washing your hands before eating, taking off your shoes at the door, and eating a healthy diet that includes iron and calcium.
For more information, visit these places on the web:
- The National Safety Council: http://www.nsc.org/resources/Factsheets/environment/lead_poisoning.aspx
- The Centers for Disease Control: http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts13.html
- The American Academy of Pediatrics: http://www.healthychildcare.org/pdf/leadpoisoning.pdf
- The National Institute of Environmental Health Services: http://www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lead.htm
- The Lead Group: http://www.lead.org.au/fs-index.html
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development: http://www.HUD.gov/offices/lead/
- The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment: http://www.cdphe.state.co.us/dc/Lead/survbullet2005.pdf