Protecting your baby during pregnancy and after in Port Pirie
Babies are vulnerable to environmental lead exposure and can absorb more than 50% of the lead that enters their bodies.
the major risk of exposure for a new baby is dust (or dirt) contaminated with lead
lead dust is carried on hands, shoes and clothing of adults and builds up on baby clothes and bed linen left outside to dry
research in Port Pirie shows that washing left outside overnight can collect a large amount of lead-bearing dust
rainwater, if used, can be another major source of lead for babies.
As babies get older and spend more time on the floor and begin to put toys and objects into mouths, their blood lead levels can increase quite rapidly. Increasing the frequency of hand-washing then becomes very important.
Your baby’s own first blood lead test should be at the age of 6½ months.
Pregnant women pass lead to their unborn babies through their bloodstream. A newborn baby’s blood lead level will be the same as his/her mother.
High lead levels can increase the risk of:
low birth weight
miscarriage and stillbirth.
Eating healthy foods helps reduce the amount of lead that your body absorbs
wash and dry your hands before preparing formula, feeding or handling a baby
do not make formula, drinks or sterilise bottles with rainwater
dropped bottles and dummies should be cleaned before returning to baby, but dropped food must be thrown away
keep a spare clean dummy in a sealed container
do not leave baby to sleep under an open window
before laying baby on the floor put down a clean rug or blanket
wash baby toys and play things regularly
store and wash baby clothes separately from other family clothing and dry indoors if possible
keep prams, bassinets, car seats and capsules as clean and dust free as possible
try not to push your baby into the wind when out walking with the pram
when doing a dirty or potentially lead hazardous job, do not cuddle a baby until you have showered, washed your hair and changed your clothes
encourage adults/children to wash their hands and change out of work clothes before nursing your baby.
By following these tips you will be protecting the child in your care:-
do not vacuum while your baby is in the room.
wash floor rugs and blankets regularly.
keeping drying time on outside lines to a minimum.
reduce dust and dirt entering your home by leaving shoes outside.
keep pets outside because their fur traps dust.
if pets come indoors, wash them frequently and keep them away from your child.
Renovation always creates dust, which can severely impact those living in the home at the time. Ensure pregnant and breastfeeding women along with young children are protected during renovation. The best method to do this is for them to stay somewhere else.
For further information on lead safe practices, contact the Environmental Health Centre or SA Health's Scientific Services on (08) 8226 7100. Additional information on reducing your exposure to lead is also available on the following pages:
You can search through to find related information.
Pregnancy and Lead: Environmental Health Centre
PDF 1 MB
Babies, Caregivers and Lead: Environmental Health Centre
PDF 92 KB
Sample meal plan for pregnancy
PDF 44 KB
Healthy snack ideas (for children 2 years and older)
PDF 43 KB
Port Pirie Environmental Health Centre
Lead Smart guidelines developed by Port Pirie Environmental Health Centre to assist housing owners in Port Pirie to reduce lead exposure in the home.
Lead, what it is, ways you can be exposed to lead poisoning, health effects and ways to reduce your exposure
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