HOW DO CHILDREN GET LEAD POISONING?
Lead poisoning occurs when a person swallows or breathes in lead dust. Children—particularly those under the age of six—are most at risk. Even small amounts of dust, as little as a sugar packet’s worth, can cause serious health problems, such as learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, speech and language problems, and behavioral problems. That’s why it’s important to know the hazards that could put your child at risk.
PAINT IN HOMES BUILT BEFORE 1978
Older homes with peeling or deteriorated paint can produce lead dust that children ingest when they put their hands or toys into their mouths.
HOME RENOVATION PROJECTS
Lead dust hazards can be created during home renovation projects. To be safe, make sure you get your home tested before starting any renovation projects and hire only EPA Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) certified contractors — as they’re required by the law to have their certification.
WATER AND OTHER SOURCES
Though not a primary exposure source, lead can be found in water if your home or neighborhood has old pipes made from lead. Lead can also be found in soil, water, jewelry, pottery, candy, imported cosmetics, folk remedies, and hobby materials. Always check labels for lead hazards.
LEAD EXPOSURE IN THE WOMB
Pregnant women who are exposed to lead can lead poison their baby while still in the womb. Get a blood test for lead at your prenatal visit.
WHAT YOU CAN DO
The effects of lead poisoning are serious—and permanent. But there are steps you can take to reduce the risk and protect your child’s future. Know the symptoms of lead poisoning: headache, stomachache, irritability, fatigue, loss of appetite, and joint pain. Ask your child’s healthcare provider for a blood test to check for lead … at age 1 and again at 2. The longer lead remains in the body of a young child, the higher the risk of permanent damage.
Get Your Child Tested
The symptoms of lead poisoning aren’t always easy to see. Lots of things happen at appointments, make sure lead is on the list. Talk to your doctor about requesting a lead test.
Know Their Results
No level of lead has been found to be safe. If your child tests positive for lead, talk to your healthcare provider about what their blood lead test results mean.
Request A Free Home Inspection
If you rent or own a home in the City of Rochester, call 585-428-6520 to request a free lead inspection. Renters, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to make sure your home is lead safe.
Wash Hands Frequently
Wash your child’s hands with soap and water—not hand sanitizer—before eating and after playing to reduce the risk of swallowing lead dust.
Eat the Right Food
Don’t skip meals—an empty stomach increases the risk of absorbing lead dust. Foods high in iron and calciumcan also help lower your child’s lead poisoning risk.
Use Lead-safe Cleaning
Wet-mop with detergent and water at least three times a week. Take your shoes off when inside. Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA Filter. And wash your child’s toys daily.
Other Organizations and Resources
Know Your Rights
The City of Rochester Lead Ordinance requires that all pre-1978 rental homes be assessed for lead hazards. FREE lead inspections are available by request for anyone residing in the City of Rochester. Property owners are required by federal law to address lead hazards using EPA Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) lead-safe certified firms. Landlords are legally not allowed to retaliate against a tenant who requests a lead inspection.
Read the City of Rochester Lead Ordinance.
Monroe County Department of Public Health Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
Provides medical case management and educational outreach, conducts environmental investigations, responds to complaints of improper/unsafe lead hazard control activities, and issues Cease and Desist Orders to stop unsafe practices.
Finger Lakes Children’s Environmental Health Center
Provides information concerning environmental exposures in children, pregnant or lactating women and women planning a pregnancy.
Learn more about the Finger Lakes Children’s Environmental Health Center.
Western New York Lead Poisoning Resource Center
Evaluates and provides medical treatment for children with elevated blood lead levels. The center focuses on educating the public about lead poisoning prevention.
Protect Your Family From Lead at Home -EPA Booklet
A booklet to help homeowners and parents understand sources of lead, how to get children tested, identifying lead hazards, and how to protect their families.