Times-Picayune, New Orleans: Old paint isn't the only substance that can expose children to high levels of lead; a new study suggests that airborne soil, laced with lead residue from auto emissions, is another source of the toxic metal.
To make matters worse, the study found exposure is more severe during the summer, when children are more likely to be outside.
Those findings should get the attention of public health officials. Lead poisoning is a serious health issue affecting 434,000 children between the ages of 1 and 5, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. High lead levels can cause brain damage, lower IQs, learning disabilities and behavioral problems, among other ills.
Public health officials need to find ways to reduce children's exposure. That might mean launching efforts to cover bare soil with mulch or grass in public areas and educating families about the need to do so in their own yards.