Lead Fact Sheet

Why lead is harmful

Exposure to lead can elevate the body’s lead content to unhealthy levels. Too much lead in a person’s body can cause damage to internal organs. The major health effects of lead are:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system

  • Behavior and learning problems in children

  • Slowed growth

How people are exposed to lead

Swallowing or breathing substances which contain lead are the main ways lead gets inside the body. For children, it can be putting objects in their mouths containing lead or touching lead and then placing their fingers in the mouth. Lead can be found in air, soil, water, paint, ceramics, pipes, plumbing material, cosmetics, paint on toys, toy jewelry, art supplies, and some herbal medicines.

Who is most at risk:

  • Those living in homes built before 1978

  • Children under 6

  • Pets

Ways to reduce risk of exposure:

  • Get blood levels tested by a doctor.

  • Talk to your chain of command about testing paint and dust in your home.

  • Mop floors and damp-wipe surfaces in the home, including window components.

  • Regularly wash hands, pacifiers, and toys.

  • Children and pregnant women should not be present in housing built before 1978 which is undergoing renovation.

Additional Resources: