United States	EPA-747-F-16-001
Environmental Protection December 2017
Agency
Office of Pollution Prevention and Toxics (7404)	
oEPA Lead Poisoning
And Your
Children
Lead awareness aiul your children
There are approximately half a million U.S. children
ages 1-5 with blood lead levels above 5 micrograms
per deciliter (pg/dL), the reference level at which
CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
You may have lead around your buiiding without
knowing it because you can't see, taste, or smell
lead You may have lead in the dust, paint, or soil in
and around your home, or in your drinking water or
food. Because it does not break down naturally, lead
can remain a problem until it is removed.
Blood tests are usually recommended for:
	Children at ages one and two.
	Children or other family members who have been
exposed to high levels of lead.
	Children who should be tested under your state or
local screening plan.
To find out where to have your child tested, call your
doctor or local health clinic. They can explain what the
test results mean, and if more testing will be needed.
2.	Keep it clean.
Ordinary dust and dirt may contain lead. Children can
swallow lead or breathe lead contaminated dust if they
play in dust or dirt and then put their fingers or toys in
their mouths, or if they eat without washing their hands
first.
	Keep the areas where your children play as dust-free
and clean as possible.
	Wash pacifiers and bottles after they fall on the floor.
Keep extras handy.
	Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other
surfaces weekly. Use a mop, sponge, or paper towel
with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner.
REMEMBER: NEVER MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH
PRODUCTS TOGETHER SINCE THEY CAN FORM A
DANGEROUS GAS.
	Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after
cleaning dirty and dusty areas.
	Wash toys and stuffed animals regularly.
	Make sure your children wash their hands before
meals, nap time, and bedtime.
3.	Reduce the risk from lead-based paint.
Most homes built before 1978 contain lead-based paint.
This paint could be on window frames, walls, the outside
of your house, or other surfaces. Tiny pieces of peeling
or chipping paint are dangerous if eaten. Lead-based
paint in good condition is not usually a problem except
in places where painted surfaces rub against each other
and create dust. (For example, when you open a window,
the painted surfaces rub against each other.)
	Make sure your child does not chew on anything
covered with lead-based paint, such as painted
window sills, cribs, or playpens.
	Don't burn painted wood. It may contain lead.
4. Don't remove lead-based paint yourself.
Families have been poisoned by scraping or sanding
lead-based paint because these activities generate
large amounts of lead dust. Lead dust from repairs
or renovations of older buildings can remain in a
building long after the work has been completed.
Heating paint may release lead into the air. When
renovations and repairs are done in your home,
make sure the firm is certified and the workers are
trained to follow lead-safe work practices. Don't try to
remove lead-based paint yourself.
If your home was built before 1978, have your
home tested for lead and learn about potential lead
hazards. Fix any hazards that you may have. You
can get your home checked in one or both of the
following ways:
	A paint inspection  Tells you the lead content
of every different type of painted surface in
your home, but does not tell you If the paint
is a hazard or how to deal with it. This is most
appropriate when you are buying a home or
signing a lease, before you renovate, and to help
you determine how to maintain your home for
lead safety.
	A risk assessment - an on-site investigation that
determines the presence, type, severity, and
location of lead-based paint hazards (including
lead hazards in paint, dust, and soil) and
provides suggested ways to control and reduce
the hazards.
All occupants, especially children and pregnant
women, should leave the building until all work is
finished and a thorough cleanup has been done.
5. Don't bring lead dust into your home.
If you work in construction, demolition or painting,
with batteries, or in a radiator repair shop or lead
factory, or if your hobby involves lead, you may
unknowingly bring lead into your home on your
hands or clothes. You may also be tracking in lead
from the soil around your home. Soil very close
to homes may be contaminated from lead-based
paint on the outside of the building. Soil by roads
or highways may be contaminated from years of
exhaust fumes from cars and trucks that used
leaded gas.
	If you work with lead in your job or hobby,
change your clothes and shower before you
go home.
	Encourage your children to play in sand or
grassy areas instead of dirt which sticks to
fingers and toys Try to keep your children
from eating dirt, and make sure they wash their
hands when they come inside.
6. Learn more about lead in drinking water.
The most common sources of lead in drinking water are
lead pipes, faucets and fixtures. Lead pipes are more
likely to be found in older cities and homes buiit before
1986. You can't smell or taste lead in drinking water.
To find out for certain if you have lead in drinking water,
have your water tested. Remember older homes with
a private well can also have plumbing materials that
contain lead.
Important Steps You Can Take to Reduce Lead in
Drinking Water
	Use only cold water for drinking, cooking and
making baby formula. Boiling water does not
remove lead from water.
	Flush your home's pipes before drinking the water.
Ways to flush your home's pipes include running
the tap, taking a shower, doing laundry or doing a
load of dishes.
	Regularly clean your faucet's screen (also known as
an aerator).
	If you use a filter certified to remove lead, don't
forget to read the directions to learn when to
change the cartridge. Using a filter after it has
expired can make it less effective at removing lead.
Contact your water company to determine if the pipe
that connects your home to the water main (called
a service line) is made from lead. Your area's water
company can also provide information about the lead
levels in your system's drinking water.
For more information about lead in drinking water
please contact EPA's Safe Drinking Water Hotline at
1-800-426-4791. If you have other questions about lead
poisoning prevention, call 1-800 424-LEAD.
Call your local health department or water company
to find out about testing your water, or visit epa.gov/
safewater for EPA's lead in drinking water information.
Some states or utilities offer programs to pay for water
testing for residents. Contact your state or local water
company to learn more.
7". Eat right.
A child who gets enough iron and calcium will absorb
less lead. Foods with iron include eggs, lean red meat,
and beans. Dairy products are high in calcium.
	Don't store food or liquids for long periods of time in
lead crystal glassware or old or imported pottery.
Before we knew how harmful It could be, lead was
used in paint, gasoline, water pipes, and many
other products. Now that we know the dangers of
lead, today house paint Is almost lead-free, leaded
gasoline has been phased out, and household
plumbing is no longer made with lead materials in the
United States.
How lead affects your child's health
The long-term effects of lead in a child can be severe.
They include learning disabilities, decreased growth,
hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and even brain
damage. If caught early, these effects can be limited
by reducing exposure to lead and/or by medical
treatment. If you are pregnant, avoid exposing
yourself to lead. Lead can pass through your body
to your baby. The good news is that there are simple
things you can do to help protect your family.
I. Get your child tested.
Even children who appear healthy may have high
levels of lead. You can't tell if a child has lead
poisoning unless you have him or her tested
A blood test takes only 10 minutes, and results
should be ready within a week.
Federal law requires contractors that disturb
painted surfaces in homes, child care facilities
and schools built before 1978 to be certified
and follow specific work practices. They are
also required to give homeowners or tenants
a copy of EPA lead brochure "The Lead-Safe
Certified Guide to Renovate Right" before
renovating six square feet or more of painted
surfaces in interior rooms or more than 20
square feet of painted surfaces in exterior
projects or window replacement or demolition
in homes built before 1978.

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Protect Your Children
From Lead Poisoning
Lead poisoning is a serious
problem for children - the
younger the child, the
greater the risk.
T Steps to Protect Yam* Children
From Lead Poisoning:
Get your child tested for lead
poisoning, even if he or she seems
healthy.
Clean floors, window frames, window
sills, and other surfaces weekly Use
a mop, sponge, or paper towel with
warm water and a general all-purpose
cleaner.
Make sure your child is not chewing
on anything that may be covered with
lead-based paint.
Don't try to remove lead-based paint
yourself. Use a lead-safe certified firm
Don't bring lead dust into your home
from work or a hobby.
Flush your home's pipes before
drinking the water. Ways to flush your
home's pipes include running the tap,
taking a shower, doing laundry or
doing a load of dishes.
Eat right and don't store food or
liquids for long periods of time in
lead crystal glassware or old or
imported pottery.
xvEPA
1-800-426-4791
epa.gov/lead
Recycled/Recyclable  Printed with vegetable oil based inks on recycled paper (30% minimum post-consumer)

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