Childhood lead poisoning is the most common pediatric public health problem, yet it is
entirely preventable. Once a child has been poisoned, the impairment it may cause is
irreversible. Lead harms children’s nervous systems and is associated with
developmental delays, learning disabilities, reduced IQ, behavioral problems and
While lead paint in homes built before 1978 continues to be the most common source of
lead exposure, there are other sources of lead that can poison a child or adult. No
amount of lead is safe for the body.
Where is lead found?
- Paint: Lead can be found in paint that was made before 1978. This paint can be on any painted surface in your home, like doors, windows and porches.
- Dust: Lead dust in the home comes from lead painted surfaces that are chipping and
peeling. You cannot see this dust with your eye. Sanding and scraping paint when
repairing or remodeling can also cause a lead dust problem.
Do not sand or scrape lead paint.
- Soil: Paint that has fallen off the outside of your house onto the ground may cause lead to be in the soil. Do not allow children to play in bare soil (non-grassy areas).
- Water: Lead found in tap water usually comes from the deterioration of pipes or from the solder that connects pipes. Lead can also be found in some water faucets.
Other sources of lead: Ceramic dishes, crystal, food cans from outside the U.S. and
some ethnic cosmetics and home remedies.
Steps you can take to prevent your child from being lead poisoned
- Make sure your home does not have chipping or peeling paint:
- Talk to your landlord about repairing areas using lead-safe work practices.
- Do not dry scrape or sand chipping paint.
- Use lead-safe cleaning practices weekly to clean your home:
- Only use wet methods to clean inside, especially window wells, wood floors and
- Do not use a vacuum to clean chipped paint or dust.
- If you work with lead paint or participate in certain hobbies, such as pottery, jewelry
making, fishing and firearms:
- Wear protective clothing when working with lead paint (such as disposable
gloves, hat and shoe covers).
- Wash your clothes in a different load than the family’s laundry.
For more information, visit: www.ct.gov/plomo
How does a child get lead poisoned?
Lead poisoning usually happens when children ingest (eat) dust from lead paint.
Children may also eat chips of lead paint or soil that has lead in it.
If a pregnant woman is around lead, she and her unborn child may become lead
poisoned. Lead can cause lasting damage to the mother and her baby.
Does your child need to be tested for lead poisoning?
All children must be tested twice before they are 35 months. It’s the law in Connecticut. We recommend testing at ages one and two.
Blood tests will tell how much lead is in your child’s blood at the time of the test. If the
level is high, your child will need more testing. Test your child after age two if you are unsure if he/she has ever been tested or if he/she has any developmental delays.
Learn more about protecting your children from lead poisoning. Call us: