September 14, 2004
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East Bay county health officials are alerting residents of lead contamination dangers from various household items. Lead poisoning is especially dangerous for young children and can cause problems with learning and behavior.
Contra Costa Health Services' Lead Poisoning Prevention Project is warning families that items they may have purchased recently could be contaminated with lead. The contaminated items include metal toy jewelry sold in vending machines, candies and spicy powders imported from Mexico, red chairs from children's furniture sets, ceramic cocktail plates and water crocks. (Images available online at http://www.cchealth.org/topics/lead_poison/)
"Lead poisoning can cause health problems, especially for children. Right now, we'd like parents to be especially aware of the recalled vending machine jewelry. If your children still have any of this jewelry, get rid of it," said Joanne Genet, Manager of Contra Costa Health Services' Lead Poisoning Prevention Project.
She said that lead has also been found in some Mexican candies and snacks popular with both adults and children. Spicy powders made by the Lucas company have recently been withdrawn from the market, but still appear to be on store shelves throughout the county.
"Not all Mexican candies and snacks have lead, but some have been found with hazardous amounts. Unfortunately, there's usually no way to know which are risky. It would be safest to avoid eating these products until the manufacturers can prove they are safe and lead-free," said Genet.
She said lead poisoning usually occurs without symptoms and often goes unrecognized.
"The only way to know if a child has been poisoned by lead is to have him tested by a doctor or health care provider," said Genet.
More information about lead poisoning prevention, images of recalled items and lead poisoning health alerts are available online at http://www.cchealth.org/topics/lead_poison/. For more information about testing and lead poisoning call 1-866-FIX-LEAD.
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