Who should worry about lead poisoning?
  • Children under six years old and fetuses are at the greatest risk of harmful health effects from lead poisoning.
    • Their brains and nervous systems are still forming.
    • They frequently crawl on floors or furniture contaminated with lead dust and put their hands or other objects in their mouths.
    • More of the lead that gets into their mouth is taken up into their bodies.
    • Much of the lead is stored in their bones.
    • Lead can be measured in their blood and remains in their bodies for a long time. 
  • Those children at high risk of getting lead into their bodies are:
    • Young children under six years of age who spend time in homes, childcare centers, or buildings built before 1978 that have chipping or peeling paint. (The old paint may still have lead in it.)
    • Young children who play in bare soil. (They may get it in their mouths.)
    • Young children who eat non-food items. (This behavior is known as “pica.”) This may be more common in children with a diet low in iron and calcium.
    • Children who have recently come from or who spend time in other countries where more lead is found.
    • Infants born to mothers with an elevated level of lead in their blood would be at risk for lead poisoning. Lead crosses the placenta and has harmful effects on the fetus. Pregnant women exposed to lead should ask their doctor about a blood test.
    • Adults who work in jobs or hobbies where they work with lead may bring the lead dust home or their clothes or equipment and expose household members. 

Show All Answers

1. What is lead poisoning?
2. Remodeling a home built prior to 1978?
3. How can I have my home tested for lead?
4. What are common sources of lead?
5. Who should worry about lead poisoning?
6. How does lead harm a child?
7. How do I know if my child has lead poisoning?
8. Can lead poisoning be treated?
9. What are some simple steps to protect my child from lead poisoning?
10. How can healthy foods protect my child from lead poisoning?
11. Reporting a lead hazard?