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Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

To Protect Yourself and Your Family:

  • Ask a doctor to test your child if you are concerned about him or her being exposed to lead.
  • If you live in a house or apartment built before 1978 (especially built before 1950), talk to your state or local health department about how to determine if there are lead-based paint hazards in the property. This is especially true if young children live with you or visit you.
  • Damp-mop floors, damp-wipe surfaces, and frequently wash your child’s hands, pacifiers, and toys to reduce exposure to lead.
  • Avoid using home remedies (such as azarcon, greta, and pay-loo-ah) and cosmetics (such as kohl and alkohl) that contain lead.
  • Take basic steps to decrease your exposure to lead if you remodel buildings built before 1978 or if your work or hobbies involve working with lead-based products. For example, shower and change clothes after finishing the task. This will also protect your child from take-home exposure.
  • Use only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking, and for making baby formula. Hot water is more likely than cold water to contain higher levels of lead, and most of the lead in household water usually comes from plumbing in the house, not from the local water supply.

Blood lead testing is the only way to measure the amount of lead in your blood and to estimate the amount of your recent exposure to lead. Blood tests are commonly used to test children for lead poisoning and can be easily conducted in your physician’s office.

The most important treatment for lead poisoning is to prevent or reduce lead exposure. Properly removing the lead from a person’s environment helps to ensure that their blood lead levels will decline. The longer a person is exposed to lead, the greater the likelihood that developmental problems or illness will occur. At very high blood lead levels, physicians may prescribe medications to lower blood lead levels in a treatment known as chelation therapy.

Data and information for this site are still being developed and added.  We welcome your comments and feedback.

This effort is supported by funding from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Environmental Public Health Tracking Program, Cooperative Agreement Number 5U38EH000619-02. The contents of this Website are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.