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Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

Frequently Asked Questions



What is lead poisoning?


Lead is a toxic metal used in a variety of products and materials, including paint, vinyl mini-blinds, pipes, leaded crystal, dishware, and pottery coatings. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause serious damage to vital organs like the brain, kidneys, nerves, and blood cells. Lead poisoning is especially harmful to children under the age of six.


Despite laws established in the 1970s to make people aware of the dangers of lead and its poisonous effects, lead poisoning in children remains a common, yet preventable, environmental health problem in the United States.


What are the health effects of lead poisoning in children?


Lead interferes with the development and functioning of almost all body organs, particularly the kidneys, red blood cells, and central nervous system. Children under the age of six are especially vulnerable to the dangers of lead poisoning.


Lead poisoning can cause:


  • Brain, liver, and kidney damage

  • Slowed development

  • Learning or behavior problems

  • Lowered intellect (IQ)

  • Hearing loss

  • Restlessness


Please talk to your health care provider and request a blood lead level test for you or your child if you have any concerns regarding lead poisoning.


What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?


  • Headaches

  • Stomachaches

  • Nausea

  • Tiredness

  • Irritability


What are the main sources of lead?


  • Old Paint Lead-based paint is most often found in homes built before 1978.

  • Lead Dust Harmful, invisible dust is created when windows, doors, edges of stairs, rails or other surfaces with lead-based paint wear down from repeated friction, such as opening or closing windows or doors.

  • Soil Soil surrounding homes may be contaminated from chipping or flaking exterior lead-based paint.

  • Drinking water Lead pipes in homes before 1930 are likely to contain lead, which is released into drinking water as it passes through the old pipes.

  • Food Lead can leach into food or drinks, which are stored in imported ceramic dishes or pottery.

  • Workplace exposure Parents who work in lead-related industries (namely painting, automotive, or recycling industries) or use lead for hobbies (such as for stained glass windows).

  • Home remedies Azarcon, greta, or pay-loo-ah.

  • Cosmetics Kohl and Kajal.


How can lead poisoning be prevented?


  • Nutrition Serve foods high in iron, calcium and Vitamin C. Adequate intake of these nutrients minimizes lead absorption in children's bodies.

  • Housekeeping Teach and practice healthy home habits, such as hand-washing before eating and sleeping, shoe removal, washing children's toys or other chewable surfaces, purchasing lead-free mini-blinds, and wet mopping and drying floors and surfaces. Hire a certified professional to safely remove lead sources from a home. Make sure children and pregnant women do not stay inside a home when renovations are underway.

  • Personal Care Wash your hands and your children's hands frequently, especially before eating and sleeping.


Adapted from: The National Lead Information Center: 1-800-424- LEAD (5323)

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Contact Us

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program


Street Address:

4041 N. Central Ave.
Suite 700
Phoenix, AZ 85012