Lead

Heat Warning
July 27, 2015 - 11:33am

The Medical Officer of Health for the City of Hamilton has called a Heat Warning effective beginning Monday July 27, 2015. A Stage 2 Heat Warning is issued when hot weather conditions are expected to last for 2 days. For more information visit www.hamilton.ca/heat.

HAMILTON, ON – July 27, 2015 - The Medical Officer of Health for the City of Hamilton has called a Heat Warning effective Monday July 27, 2015. A Stage 2 Heat Warning is issued when hot weather conditions are expected to last for 2 days.

Weather: A hot air mass is expected to move into southern Ontario today. Daytime highs in the low thirties are expected today with warm overnight minimum temperatures near 20 degrees. The hot weather conditions will likely continue into Thursday

Response: The City of Hamilton and participating community agencies are responding to the heat by offering “cool places” to go at all 3 stages. They can be identified by a “Cool Down Here” sign at their entrances, along with a heat meter sign, which indicates which stage we are at.

During a Stage 2 Heat Warning, regularly scheduled public, family, adult and senior swims are free of charge at City of Hamilton indoor and outdoor pools. When a Stage 2 Heat Warning is in effect on a Saturday or Sunday, free 6 to 8 pm swim times are also added at six city pools. Visit www.hamilton.ca/heat and check under ‘Stage 2 Heat Warning’ for a list of pools.

Risk of heat-related illness can be reduced by following these recommendations:

  • Drink plenty of water.  Avoid drinking alcoholic and caffeinated beverages on hot days.
  • Go to an air-conditioned place.  Visit a cool place such as a mall, public recreation centres, public libraries, and other City run air-conditioned facilities, etc.
  • Dress to protect from the heat.  Wear lightweight, loose-fitting, light coloured clothing.  Wear a hat or take an umbrella to keep your head cool and don’t forget sunscreen.
  • Take it easy.  Limit physical activities (walking, running, gardening, etc.) during the day.  If rescheduling activities to dawn or dusk when it may be cooler, protect yourself with insect repellent as mosquitoes are more active at such times.  Check labels to apply.
  • Cool off.  Take a cool bath or shower.
  • Keep your living space cool.  Close your blinds or curtains.  Open windows to let air circulate when using a fan.
  • Never leave children or pets alone in closed vehicles.  Temperatures in a car can become life threatening within minutes.
  • Check on your neighbours and family.

Signs of heat exhaustion include heavy sweating, weakness, cold, pale and clammy skin; weak pulse, fainting and vomiting.  If experiencing symptoms, seek help right away – call 911 if needed.  For more information on how heat affects human health, see Health Canada’s website.

For tips on coping with the heat and places where to cool off, the public can contact 905-546-2489 Monday to Friday 8:30 am to 4:30 pm or go to www.hamilton.ca/heat.  Heat information online is available in several accessible formats and in 13 languages.

Lead is a naturally occurring, bluish-grey material. 

Sources of lead

Lead is found in:

  • Paint in homes built before 1978.  Chipping, peeling or sanding paint can release lead into the air, household dust and soil.
  • Dust inside homes.  Dust can contain lead, especially in older homes that have lead-based paint.  When you open and close windows or doors with lead paint, lead dust is created.  Babies and young children often put their hands into their mouths after touching surfaces with dust such as floors. 
  • Some soils.  Use of lead in products such as gasoline, paint and pesticides in the past contributes to the amount of lead found in soil.  Lead does not break down over time, and is often found in areas close to where it was used in the past. Soil can be a source of lead exposure for children when they play outside.
  • Drinking water in most North American cities because lead pipes were used in homes built before the 1960s and lead-containing soldering joints were used until the late 1980s.  Lead can get into drinking water from valve parts or gaskets, older water service lines and indoor plumbing.
  • Food or drinks stored in ceramic dishes, pottery or crystal glassware made outside Canada.
  • Some toys and children's jewelry made outside Canada.
  • Older PVC mini blinds.
  • Clothes and shoes of people who work in lead-related industries, such as painters, automobile repairers, battery makers, stained glass makers and construction workers.

Health risks from lead

People who are at a higher risk of health effects from lead are:

  • Children six years of age and under
  • Pregnant women
  • Women planning a pregnancy

Exposure to environmental lead sources can affect your health and the health of your children.  Chronic exposure to lead can cause:

  • Nervous system and kidney damage
  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorder

Contact your doctor if you would like to find out if you or your children have high blood lead levels.

Protecting your family from lead

Here are some things you can do to reduce your family’s exposure to lead:

  • If you live in a home built before 1978, clean up any peeling or chipping paint and make sure that your children do not play with or eat any paint chips.
  • If you think your window or door frames have lead based paint, wipe them down with a wet cloth often, especially if they are opened and closed regularly.
  • Check your home’s plumbing and the pipe that connects your house to the city water main for lead.
  • If you are not sure if you have lead water service pipes, call 905- 546-4426 and request to have a Check Size and Type Inspection.
  • Learn about how to reduce lead in tap water and how to replace your lead service pipes
  • If you have lead in your plumbing, use an NSF-53 certified water filter approved for lead reduction for drinking; making food, juice, coffee or tea; and making baby formula.
  • Check toys and other items in your home for lead
  • Wash hands before meals and before going to bed
  • Take shoes off at the door
  • Wash toys, bottles and pacifiers often
  • Mop or wash the floor often
  • Take down old PVC mini-blinds
  • Take off work clothes at work and wash separately from clothes worn at home if you are exposed to lead at work
  • Do not store food in glazed pottery from other countries
  • During home renovations take safety measures such as sealing off and ventilating the area being renovated; keeping children and pregnant women out of the area; vacuuming and mopping the area every day; wearing safety masks, coveralls and gloves