Lead Poisoning

Childhood lead poisoning is a preventable environmental health problem in the United States. About a million children in the United States have blood lead levels of at least 10 micrograms per deciliter (ug/dL), a level high enough to adversely affect their intelligence, behavior and development. It is important that parents with children under the age of six have their child’s blood tested for lead exposure at their pediatrician's office.

Lead-based paint is the most common lead poisoning hazard and is often found in older homes. It can flake and generate dust that children can ingest through hand-to-mouth activity.

Buildings that were constructed prior to 1978 could contain lead-based paint. Renovation work to repair non-intact lead paint should be performed by a certified lead renovator.

Other common sources of lead exposure include:

  • Herbs and spices that were grown in soils contaminated with lead
  • Vinyl mini blinds sold before 1997
  • Some candies imported from Mexico and Asia
  • Bullets and batteries
  • Some toys and toy jewelry
  • Old water pipes
  • Lead glaze in some ceramic containers, cookware or tableware
  • Some imported cosmetics, including Kohl, Surma and Sindoor
  • Some home remedies (e.g., Greta and Azarcon)
  • Some ceremonial powders, including Kumkum, Rangoli and Vibhuti

Wake County Departments & Agencies: