Even very small amounts of lead can be extremely dangerous to young children (up to about 6 years old). Lead can commonly be found in paint or soil. It can get into a child’s system when particles are inhaled or eaten on a regular basis.
What Are Routes of Exposure to Lead?
- Delayed development
- Reading and learning difficulties
- Lowered IQ
- Discipline problems
Children are at risk for lead poisoning because they touch their hands to their mouths often, their digestive tracts absorb more lead than those of adults, and their brains are still developing.
- Provide good nutrition to reduce lead absorption
- Wash children’s hands and toys often
- Do not sand, scrape, burn, or create dust from materials that may contain lead
- Leave the removal of lead-contaminated materials to professionals
- Damp dusting and mopping can reduce dust
- Use a vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter
- Pick up loose paint chips with duct tape
- Hire contractors for renovations, painting, and repair that are certified as trained in and use safe lead practices
Lead in Toys
The US Consumer Products Safety Division is responsible for keeping toys containing lead off the market. If you have reason to suspect that a toy contains lead, remove it immediately. If you think your child has been exposed to a toy containing lead contact your pediatrician.
Learn About Product Recalls for Lead
All children under 6 should have a blood test for lead – especially those who live in older homes and high-traffic areas.
- Learn More About Testing Your Child for Lead
- Lead Testing Guide for Parents & Guardians
- Find a Certified Lead Testing Professional
Renovation, Repair & Painting
In 2010, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) passed the Renovation, Repair and Painting rule (RRP). The rule requires anyone who will be paid to do renovations, painting, or repair on a pre-1978 home to be trained in and use lead safe practices when:
- Greater than 6 square feet (SF) of lead-based paint is disturbed on interior surfaces
- Greater than 20 square feet is disturbed on exterior surfaces (including window replacement)
Contractors must also:
- Test for lead, or assume paint contains lead (a lead-based paint is one with greater than 0.06% lead by weight)
- Keep the work area contained
- Minimize dust
- Clean up thoroughly
Real Estate Disclosure
- Landlords must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before leases take effect. Leases must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint.
- Sellers must disclose known information on lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards before selling a house. Sales contracts must include a disclosure form about lead-based paint. Buyers have up to ten days to check for lead hazards.