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Get the Lowdown on Lead

Exposure to lead, a toxic metal, can be dangerous. It’s especially risky for children because their little bodies absorb more lead than adults’ bodies do. In addition, kids’ brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead poisoning.

Babies and young children tend to come into contact with more lead than adults because they often touch things that can contain lead and then put their hands in their mouths.

Lead can be found in:

  • Soil

  • Pipes in homes built before 1986

  • Dust

  • Older toys and play jewelry

  • Paint in homes built before 1978

Take Action Against Lead

You’re not powerless against lead. Here’s what you can do to keep your family safe:

  • Wipe children’s hands and remove their shoes after playing outdoors.

  • Use cold water to prepare food and drinks.

  • Clean floors with a damp mop each week.

  • Don’t let kids play in bare soil (consider a sandbox instead).

  • Wipe down flat surfaces, like windowsills, weekly with a damp paper towel.

  • Wash pacifiers, toys, and bottles often.

Protect Your Family

In certain counties around the U.S., children younger than age 6 may have higher levels of lead in their blood. No matter where you live, ask your child’s pediatrician to test blood lead levels before age 2.

If you rent, you have rights when it comes to avoiding lead. If your landlord isn’t responsive to your complaints, call your county health department.