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Facts about lead

FACT: Lead exposure can harm young children and babies even before they are born.

FACT: Even children who seem healthy can have high levels of lead in their bodies.

FACT: You can get lead in your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust, or by eating soil or paint chips containing lead.

FACT: You have many options for reducing lead hazards. In most cases, lead-based paint that is in good condition is not a hazard.

FACT: Removing lead-based paint improperly can increase the danger to your family.

If you think your home might have lead hazards, read on to learn about lead and some simple steps to protect your family.

Lead Safety

Health effects of lead

Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the United States.

  • People can get lead in their body if they:
    • Put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths.
    • Eat paint chips or soil that contains lead.
    • Breathe in lead dust, especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces.

  • Lead is more dangerous to children because:
    • Babies and young children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These objects can have lead dust on them.
    • Children's growing bodies absorb more lead.
    • Children's brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

  • If not detected early, children with high levels of lead in their bodies can suffer from:
    • Damage to the brain and nervous system
    • Behavior and learning problems, such as hyperactivity
    • Slowed growth
    • Hearing problems
    • Headaches

  • Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
    • Reproductive problems (in both men and women)
    • High blood pressure and hypertension
    • Nerve disorders
    • Memory and concentration problems
    • Muscle and joint pain

Lead Safe Kids