Childhood Lead

Letter to Health Care Providers

Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, children have spent significantly more time at home, increasing their risk to exposure of lead paint and contaminated dust. At the same time, lead blood screenings have declined, leading to elevated blood levels and hospitalizations in children.

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Preventing Lead Poisoning

Lead is a naturally occurring metal in our environment.

Lead can be found in:

  • Paint found in homes built before 1978
  • Imported consumer products such as cosmetics, spices, cultural home remedies, pottery, and toys
  • Take-home lead from hobbies and occupations
  • Water pumped through leaded pipes
  • Contaminated soil and air
How are children exposed to lead and why is it harmful?

Children are exposed to lead by swallowing or inhaling it.

Lead affects the brain and nervous system. In children, this can result in:

  • Lowered intelligence
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention deficits
  • Developmental problems
  • Decreased hearing
How can I prevent my child's exposure to lead?
  • Wash your child’s hands frequently before eating, after playing outside or on the floor, and before sleeping.
  • Wash toys, bottles, pacifiers and other objects that children handle and put in their mouths
  • Leave shoes at the entrance to your home.
  • Keep your child away from bare soil.
  • Feed your child healthy foods high in iron and calcium.
  • Store foods and liquids in lead-free containers.
  • Clean floors and windowsills using a damp mop or sponge and detergent.
  • Know if your home has lead-based paint before doing renovations or remodeling.
  • Use lead-safe work practices or hire a Certified Renovator if your home was built before 1978.
  • Use only cold tap water to prepare formula, for drinking and cooking.
  • Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking.
  • Wash work clothes separately if a job uses lead.
How do I know if I have lead-based paint in my home and how do I safely remove old paint?

Assume that your home has lead-based paint if it was built before 1978. If you are not sure, hire a Lead Evaluation Contractor.

What should I do if I want to have lead-based paint removed from my house?

• Don't remove lead-based paint until you have reviewed these Lead Safe Work Practices
• Hire a Lead Abatement Contractor
• Hire a Certified Renovator

Last Reviewed: 3/29/2021