Learn about Lead
Who is at Risk for Lead Poisoning? EVERYONE
All children under the age of 6, pregnant women and unborn children
are at risk from lead poisoning. Adults may also be at risk because of their jobs
The Forsyth County Board of Health Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Rules recommend
that all children be tested for lead at the age of 1 and again at the age of 2 during
a well child visit (routine check-up) or at least once before the age of 6, regardless of the age of
What is Lead? Lead is a heavy metal that does not break down
over time and is dangerous to human health. In the past, the Romans used lead in their water
pipes and to make statues and roofing tiles.
Why was Lead added to paint and other items? Lead was added
to paint because it made the paint last longer and stick better to the surface being
painted and it was mold and mildew resistant. Since the lead-based paint stayed
on the surfaces for a longer period of time, the surfaces required less painting
Lead was added to gasoline to help prevent damage to engines. The use of lead in
gasoline decreased in the 1970’s due to better engine manufacturing and was banned
January 1, 1996 for use in on-road vehicles. Leaded gasoline may still be used in
airplanes, farm equipment and marine engines.
Lead was added to plastics for flexibility and as a color enhancer.
Lead was used in solder and bullets because it was soft and easy to form when heat
Lead was added to pesticides (before 1950s) to treat for pests in fruit orchards,
especially against the codling moth.
Why does Forsyth County have a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program?
The Forsyth County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) monitors
children’s blood lead levels, provides early intervention, conducts environmental
lead investigations and enforces abatement, when necessary. Forsyth County CLPPP
was formed in 1997 by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) designed
to increase the number of children tested for lead poisoning and decrease the number
of children affected by lead poisoning. Although there has been an increase in the
number of children tested for lead poisoning, children are still being lead poisoned
and the affects of lead will be with them their entire lives.