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Did You Know:

Lead Poisoning is 100% Preventable.

The biggest culprit of lead poisoning is “lead dust” which is caused by deteriorated paint that is chipping, chalking, cracking, or peeling, not the eating of paint chips. Even opening and closing windows and doors (especially during the summer months) can result in lead dust that is invisible to the naked eye and that can also settle on furniture, floors, and toys that a child may put in their mouth or touch with their hands. Remodeling can create a large amount of lead dust to be released into the air all at once. It is crucial to use lead safe practices when renovating an older home (see EPA recommendations).

The greatest risk is to brain development, where irreversible damage can occur (low IQ, ADHD, cognitive impairment (inability to focus), learning disabilities, and behavior problems). At even lower lead levels, damage to the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults can occur. At high lead levels, seizures, unconsciousness and death can result. It is important to note that some children may not exhibit any symptoms at all.

*Exposure to even low levels of lead can cause damage especially in children. Children absorb lead more efficiently than adults making them much more susceptible.

How Can You Protect Your family from lead poisoning?

Simple measures can help protect you and your family from lead poisoning:

  • Wash hands and toys. To help reduce hand-to-mouth transfer of contaminated dust or soil, wash your children's hands after outdoor play, before eating and at bedtime. Wash their toys regularly.
  • Clean dusty surfaces. Clean your floors with a wet mop and wipe furniture, windowsills and other dusty surfaces with a damp cloth.
  • Remove shoes before entering the house. This will help keep lead-based soil outside.
  • Run cold water. If you have older plumbing containing lead pipes or fittings, run your cold water for at least a minute before using. Don't use hot tap water to make baby formula or for cooking.
  • Prevent children from playing on soil. Provide them with a sandbox that's covered when not in use. Plant grass or cover bare soil with mulch.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Regular meals and good nutrition might help lower lead absorption. Children especially need enough calcium, vitamin C and iron in their diets to help keep lead from being absorbed.
  • Keep your home well-maintained. If your home has lead-based paint, check regularly for peeling paint and fix problems promptly using lead safe practices. Try not to sand or scrape, which generates dust particles that may contain lead. Mop, sweep floors, and wipe down painted surfaces regularly.

Additional Resources:

1-800-440-LEAD PA Department of Health

CDC’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
National Center for Healthy Housing 410 992-0712 or
National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition
Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home Protect Your Family from Lead in Your Home (