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Exposure to lead prompts health call

by
November 06, 2017

THE Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is urging Echuca-Moama to act to prevent exposure to lead in paint.

THE Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) is urging Echuca-Moama to act to prevent exposure to lead in paint.

Lead paint is common in older houses and often uncovered or disturbed during renovations.

Victoria’s chief health officer professor Charles Guest said one of the biggest risks in Victoria is exposure to lead in old paint.

‘‘Outside of the workplace almost 30 per cent of Victorians who were notified to DHHS between 2010 and 2016 with high blood-lead levels indicated that they had been exposed to lead-containing paint,’’ he said.

‘‘While house paint containing lead is no longer manufactured in Australia, paints containing high levels of lead were used in many Australian houses prior to 1970.

‘‘Some automotive and marine paints may also contain lead. As lead paint ages, it flakes and crumbles, creating lead-contaminated dust.

‘‘Removal of lead-based paint, as part of home renovation activities, can also produce dust containing lead. Paint dust can then be inhaled, or some children may eat chips of paint containing lead.’’

Lead is toxic to multiple body systems, including the central nervous system and brain, the reproductive system, the kidneys, the cardiovascular system, and the blood and immune systems.

Prof Guest said anyone painting a house or doing maintenance that could disturb lead-based paint should avoid exposing themselves and their families, neighbours and pets to lead by taking appropriate precautions.

All home renovators are advised to use proper personal protective equipment and wash hands with warm soapy water before eating or smoking.

Renovators should also clean up thoroughly to get rid of dust and paint chips from peeling paint and use wet cleaning methods for dusty floors.

If you are unsure whether your home may contain lead paint, or you cannot obtain the right equipment to undertake the work safely, call in professional help.

If you suspect that you or a member of your family has been exposed to lead, visit your doctor for further advice.

To find out more about lead exposure and how to prevent it, visit the Better Health Channel at www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/Lead-exposure-and-your-health

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