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Lead Poisoning 101

Closeup photo of a mother holding her baby's tiny hand between her index finger and thumb. The baby's arm is in a white sleeve with small animals on it and enters the photo from the left. The mother's hand enters the photo from the right.

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4 Reasons Lead is Dangerous to Children and Pregnant Women

  • Lead is a poison.
  • Lead can cause learning disabilities, mental retardation, and other serious health problems.
  • There is no safe level of lead. Low levels of lead can harm children.
  • Lead is especially dangerous to children under 6, even in utero.

Lead Testing for Kids Under 6 and Pregnant Women

4 Ways Children and Pregnant Women Get Exposed to Lead

  • Lead is common in paint and solder found on pipes in homes built before 1978.
  • Dust and chips from paint inside and outside older homes are dangerous to children.
  • Sanding, scraping or heating old paint is dangerous to pregnant women.
  • Lead may be in imported products, including:

    - painted, plastic or metal toys and jewelry, ceramic dishes, and vinyl mini-blinds
    - traditional remedies or cosmetics, like Azarcon, Greta, and Kohl
    - candies and other “Toxic Treats” that contain lead

6 Tips to Keep Kids Safe From Lead

  • Wash children’s hands often with lots of soap and water.

    Not just wipes!

  • Clean floors and window sills with warm water and detergent. Use a HEPA vacuum to clean carpets.
  • Durham, NC residents only

  • Don't dry-sand or scrap old paint.

    Lay down plastic and spray the paint with water before scraping. Be sure to clean up any dust and paint chips.

  • Only use lead-free imported items:

    toys, jewelry, dishes, blinds, remedies, cosmetics, candies