Keeping Your Family Lead Safe
What are the health effects of exposure to lead?
If not detected early, lead poisoning in children can damage
the nervous system and brain, causing behavior and learning problems such as hyperactivity,
hearing problems, slowed growth and headaches. It can also cause seizures, unconsciousness,
brain and kidney damage, and DEATH in some cases. In adults it can cause high blood
pressure, nerve disorders, muscle and joint pain, digestive problems and pregnancy
Where is lead found?
Lead can be inhaled or ingested from several sources. Chipping or peeling paint
that contains lead is the main source of lead poisoning. Most houses and apartments
built before 1978 have lead-based paint inside and out. Lead paint can also be found
on toys, furniture, playground equipment, candy, and jewelry. Soil, water fixtures
and food may also contain lead. Hobbies such as making pottery, stained glass or
refinishing furniture can expose someone to lead. Your occupation can also put you
at risk for being exposed to lead
(learn more). The most common place lead is found is lead-based paint. Lead
can also be found in:
- Food that is stored, baked, or served in glazed pottery or ceramics that contain
- Soil surrounding a house that has lead-based paint
- Vinyl miniblinds manufactured before 1996
- Fishing weights, computer and phone cords
- Stained glass, brass, pewter and copper
- Occupations such as demolition, smelting, battery manufacturing
- Folk remedies that contain Azarcon, Paylooah, and Greta
Lead in Jewelry Brochure -
How do I find out if there’s lead in my home?
The Environmental Health Division can do an investigation to find out the source
of the lead in your home IF your child's blood-lead level is elevated (5 - 7 ug/dL)
and an investigation is required if your child has a confirmed blood-lead level
of 8 ug/dL or greater. Lead affects children at lower levels and may damage the
nervous system, including the brain. Have your paint, water and soil tested by a
risk assessor. A certified risk assessor can check paint and collect samples of
water and soil for testing to determine if lead is present in your home.
What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
Most children with lead poisoning do not show any signs. If symptoms occur they
may be mistaken for flu or other illnesses. When lead poisoning levels are severe,
some general symptoms can include digestive problems, fatigue, headaches, and higher
rates of tooth decay. Children with chronic lead poisoning may show slightly lower
intelligence and may be smaller in size than children their age who do not have
lead poisoning. Behavioral problems can include irritability or aggressiveness,
hyperactivity, learning difficulties, lethargy, and loss of appetite.
What if I'm pregnant?
Unborn babies are also affected by lead. Research has shown that lead exposure by
a pregnant woman can increase the risk of:
- premature birth
- small size and low birth weight
- miscarriage or still birth
- learning and behavior problems
If you are pregnant or may become pregnant you should consider having a blood test