Lead Poisoning Prevention


The danger is hard to see. Don’t be fooled. A child can have lead poisoning and look fine. Signs of damage may show up later.

Your child may have:
  • Problems learning
  • Trouble paying attention
  • Hearing loss
  • An upset stomach
  • Loss of energy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Constipation
  • Weight loss
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability
  • Difficulty sleeping
There is a simple blood test for lead. Don’t wait for signs like these or it may be too late to prevent lasting harm. Children should be tested for lead poisoning at 1 and 2 years of age or more often depending on their contact with sources of lead.

Lead Is Poison

There are many places in a home that could put babies and children in danger of lead poisoning:
  • Dust
  • Tap water
  • Glazed pottery
  • Some plastic mini blinds made outside of the United States
  • Dirt outside your home
  • Paint
Lead paint was used in many homes built before 1978. The older the home, the more likely that cupboards, doors, porches, windows and outdoor surfaces contain lead paint. Children are most often poisoned by lead dust and lead paint in older homes. Lead dust can come from disturbing areas with lead paint, opening and closing windows, and through normal wear and tear of painted areas. Lead dust falls to the floor and gets on children’s hands and toys. It enters their bodies when they put their hands or toys into their mouths.
  • A child may eat lead or breathe it in.
  • Lead dust on fingers can get into a child's mouth.
  • A woman with lead in her blood may be a source of lead for her unborn baby.
  • Lead hurts the mind and body.
  • Lead can make it hard for a child to learn and/or cause serious health problems.

Protect Your Child From Lead

Keep your child from eating paint chips, dust or dirt. Keep dust and dirt off of floors, window sills and other surfaces. Clean them up with a wet mop or cloth.

Have your child wash his or her hands after playing outside, before meals and bedtime.

Wash your children’s toys often.

Leave shoes at the door when little ones may be on the carpet.

If you work around lead, avoid bringing lead dust into your home.

Run water for drinking or cooking for 15-30 seconds or until it is as cold as it can get (especially if it hasn’t been used for 6 hours or more).

Don’t drink, cook or make baby formula with water from the hot-water tap.

Replace plastic miniblinds with a type that is lead-free.

Have your home checked for lead before you remodel.

Wash fruits and vegetables before cooking and serving.

Don’t store food in open cans.

Give your child regular meals and snacks. A full stomach also helps the body take in less lead.

Give your child a diet rich in calcium, vitamin C and iron. These foods can help keep lead from getting into bones and blood.

Some good sources include:
  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Green leafy vegetables
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Bread
  • Cereal
  • Meat
Learn more about lead and how to keep your child safe.

Find out if your child needs lead testing.  Lead testing can be done with a simple blood test from primary health care providers.

Ask your child’s health care provider questions.

For more information
Call the National Lead Information Center at 800-424-5323 or look online.

For long term solutions, contact the Lead Hazard Remediation Program at 866-691-LEAD or look online.