Be Sure Your Kids Aren’t Getting “Tricked” This Halloween with Dangerous Candy

**Updated 9.22.17

As if Halloween isn’t scary enough, but now we also must worry about lead in the candy and candy wrappings our little ghouls and goblins get trick-or-treating. Most candy is safe for children and parents, but some contain hidden lead.

According to Dr. Jonathan Fielding, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health and a First 5 LA commissioner, lead can seriously affect a child’s brain and nervous system and may cause learning and behavioral problems. Last year in the county, 672 children suffered from lead poisoning. “Lead poisoning is both tragic and entirely preventable,” he added

The Department has issued a list of candies, most of which come from Mexico, from all over the world that tested positive for an unsafe amount of lead. A list of candies that were found to contain unacceptable levels of lead is on the Department’s website in English and Spanish

Since this month recognizes the National Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, this is also a good time to remember that there is a lot we can do to reduce a child’s exposure to leads. Here are some sources of lead exposure:

  • Deteriorated paint and dust from houses and apartments built before 1978 where lead paint was used.
  • Ground soil that has been contaminated by lead paint, lead dust, or leaded gasoline.
  • Lead dust that comes into the home on work clothes or work boots.
  • Some folk or traditional remedies, such as Azarcón and Greta.
  • Various imported goods, which can include specific items of toys, ceramics, and children’s jewelry.
  • Hobbies using items that contain lead, such as soldering, making stained glass, and handling bullets or fishing sinkers.

All parents and caregivers of young children are invited to learn how to protect their children from this silent and serious environmental threat. Free materials in many languages, as well as answers to questions on lead poisoning prevention, are available by calling 1-800-LA-4-LEAD or online at http://publichealth.lacounty.gov/lead.

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