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Lead in ceramic glaze a potential lead poisoning hazard

The City of Kansas City, Mo., Health Department warns that handpainted ceramic pottery may contain dangerous levels of lead in the glaze. People who work in or visit shops where you can paint your own ceramics may be exposed to lead. In addition, they may carry lead dust home in their clothes and potentially contaminate their children and others.

The Health Department advises that anyone who works with ceramics, and their children, to be tested for lead poisoning. The department recommends thorough handwashing after painting or handling ceramic glazes, and avoiding smoking, eating or drinking while painting or glazing pottery to minimize exposure.

Young children are most commonly exposed to lead in products from putting the objects in their mouths, from hand-to-mouth activities after handling those objects and from dust contamination. The adverse health effects are well documented, may be long lasting or permanent, and include neurological damage, delayed mental or physical development, attention or learning deficiencies, kidney problems and even death. Because lead accumulates in the body, even exposure to small amounts of lead can contribute to the overall level of lead in the body and to the risk of adverse health effects.

"If you are concerned about your child's lead level, call your doctor or your local health department and set up an appointment for a blood lead test," said Amy Roberts, RN BSN and program manager for the Health Department's Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

For more information or to schedule a free lead test, call the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, (816) 513-6048.

City News Releases - 2007

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