In that tiny paint chip, the past and the future intersect. A generation ago in that same space, a couple stood in a freshly painted apartment, perhaps with a young child. Now that child is grown and gone. You stand with your wife, holding a chip of the past, and prepare for the future.
You, however, see with eyes a generation wiser, aware that danger lurks in lead paint. Deaths from lead poisoning are now rare, but it is not unusual for a child’s blood to contain enough lead to cause intellectual and developmental delay, neurologic problems, kidney disease, and anemia.
Children absorb 40-50% of the lead that gets into their mouths (adults only 10%). Even small amounts of lead can produce high concentrations in the blood of young children because their bodies are small. Since children’s brains are still developing, the effect of lead poisoning can be especially damaging.