Lead Information

Did You Know?

Lead is found in about 35% of homes built before 1978, and it has serious health effects. Children under the age of six are most at risk for lead poisoning, but it is dangerous for adults and pets too. Lead poisoning is often misdiagnosed and can be difficult to treat.

  • According to the EPA, childhood lead poisoning remains a major threat in the United States. Lead exposure can cause serious, life threatening, and potentially permanent damage. Exposure in children can cause brain damage and central nervous system problems, behavioral and learning problems, such as hyperactivity, slowed growth, hearing problems, and headaches. Prolonged exposure can cause death.
  • Pregnant women are as mush at risk as children because the unborn child absorbs the lead through it’s mother. These babies are developing rapidly, so the damage can be much more severe.
  • Adults are not immune to the threats of lead. Common problems resulting from lead exposure are reproductive problems, high blood pressure, hypertension, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, and muscle and joint pain.
  • Pets often are the first members of the family that show signs of lead poisoning.

The most common sources of lead exposure are from lead-based paint. Peeling, chipping, and cracking paint can release lead particulates. Renovations and remodeling in older homes can also release massive amounts of leaded dust because they disturb lead-based paint, which may have been contained before the renovation began. One square centimeter of leaded dust can contaminate a large room, and think about how much dust construction produces! Traditional clean-up methods following renovations and repairs don’t always clean up the dust.

Proper lead clean up demonstration

Leaded dust is very fine and can land on most surfaces in a home. It can also be pulled into the HVAC system and be blown all over the home. This dust is then inhaled or ingested and absorbed into the system. Children are particularly prone to poisoning because they tend to put things in their mouths, a smaller amount of lead is required to poison them, and they metabolize the lead faster because they are developing.

Lead can also be absorbed into the ground around a home. Routine yard-work can stir up this leaded dust and expose workers and families to its toxic effects. It can contaminate plants that grow in these areas. Vegetable plants that are grown in lead contaminated soil will then deposit lead into the produce and poison anyone who eats the produce.

For more information about lead, please visit the EPA’s website at www.epa.gov/lead