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Home » Health and Wellness

Guest Jam: Keeping an Eye on the Long Term Health of Your Kids

Submitted by on Sunday, 16 January 2011No Comment

We have a special Guest Jam today from Eric Stevenson, a dad who first introduced himself to me as one who is very passionate about long term health.  And indeed he is!  He kindly took the time to write a Guest Jam for us about the long term implications of asbestos and lead exposure in children, and what we can do as parents to mitigate any long-term health risks due to this exposure.

Without further ado, I’ll hand you over to Eric:


I never saw it coming. But that was how my dad operated. I walked into the living room expecting to see my mom and dad on the couch, doing parent stuff. But the couch had been moved to the center of the room. Anything breakable had disappeared. My dad whipped out a grin and a ball. “Somebody pick teams.”

Our version of indoor volleyball went on for weeks (until dad discovered indoor mini-golf, followed by indoor hockey). As a kid, I thought my dad just didn’t feel like being a parent. What I now realize is that he was doing his job as a dad. By protecting our long term health.

You see, my dad wouldn’t let rain stop us from exercising. He made being healthy a priority. As dads, you should watch out for long term issues like diabetes and obesity, of course. But you should also keep an eye out for less obvious health hazards that can be caused by household toxins: asbestos and lead.

Older homes were built using asbestos, a fire-resistant mineral used in dry wall and insulation. When inhaled, the asbestos fibers can cause a deadly lung cancer. Mesothelioma symptoms are subtle and include shortness of breath and heaviness in the chest area. Because of a 20-50 year latency period, mesothelioma is often misdiagnosed and caught too late, so your kids may not even show symptoms of mesothelioma until they’re adults.

What should you do if you suspect asbestos exposure?

●        Do not handle it (you can’t fix this one on your own)

●        Keep your children far from the infected area

●        Contact a licensed and trained asbestos abatement contractor

●        Consider seeing a physician; ask about getting screened

Next up is lead. Lead can be found in pipes, soil, paints, and even dust. Through swallowing or inhaling lead particles,you or your kids are susceptible to poisoning. Lead poisoning may result in loss of memory, damage to reproductive organs, and digestive problems in adults. It can lead to weight loss, developmental damage and hearing loss in children. Kids are much more likely to suffer from lead poisoning since they tend to enjoy putting things into their mouths.

What should you do if you suspect lead poisoning?

●        See a professional about removing the lead-based materials

●        Ask for lead screenings for you and your little ones

●        Diet! Vitamin C, Calcium, and Iron as well as a balanced diet

My dad cared for our long term health. He wanted to save us from unhealthy lifestyles. Exercise was his solution. But toxic situations may require you to be super dad. Healthy kids should grow up to be healthy adults. Long term health care may be up to you.


Thanks Eric for the tips!  Please leave a comment if you have any further tips or stories to tell on this subject!

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