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Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

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Prevent Lead Poisoning. Get your home tested. Get your child tested. Get the facts! Click here…Lead has been shown to have many harmful effects in growing children, especially between the ages of 9 months and 6 years. Even low levels of lead can cause life-long brain damage. Higher levels can cause pregnancy problems, high blood pressure, learning disabilities, more serious brain and nerve damage, and even death.

We work to prevent a child from ever being lead poisoned and to eliminate this disease through education, lead screening, hazard identification and reduction, and a variety of other preventive services.

2013 Lead Poisoning Guidelines for Clinicians:
Prevention, Screening & Medical Management
To help children avoid the harmful effects of lead poisoning, clinicians should take a primary role in helping families to prevent exposure.

Letter from Health Commissioner Donald F. Schwarz, MD, MPH »

2013 Guide for Clinicians: Preventing Lead Poisoning in Children »

Patient Handout: 5 Things You Can Do to Prevent Lead Poisoning »


Education and Outreach »
We provide free educational outreach presentations on preventing lead poisoning to groups of any size.

Enforcement »
We work with the Philadelphia court system to make sure property owners who are issued lead hazard violation notices take appropriate action to make the property lead-safe.

Hazard Control »
We provide information and free monthly classes to educate people how to safely remove lead paint hazards. 

Medical Management »
We maintain a computer database of blood lead test results to ensure that children with elevated blood levels receive proper medical management and follow-up.

Lead Paint Disclosure and Certification »
We help landlords to comply with the Philadelphia law that requires property rented to families with children 6 years and younger to be lead safe.

About Lead Poisoning

Lead PoisoningLead poisoning happens when a child beathes in or ingests lead from old, cracked, or peeling lead paint that has broken down into dirt or dust. Lead can also be brought into the house by pets, and on toys, shoes, work clothes or uniforms. All young children put their fingers in their mouths. If they have touched anything with lead dust or dirt on it, they can be poisoned.

It is not easy to tell if a child has been lead poisoned. The symptoms of lead poisoning are similar to those of healthy children, including:

  • loss of appetiite
  • loss of energy
  • hyperactivity
  • irritability
  • stomach aches
  • they may have no signs or symptoms at all

The only way to know for sure if a child has been poisoned is to get the child tested for lead.

If you work with paint, machines, building construction, dirt or soil, you should leave work clothes at work, or change before you touch your child. Wash your children’s hands, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals before eating or napping. "Wet wipe" hard surfaces like floors and windows at least once a week. Never cook with hot water, always start with cold. Always wash fresh fruit and vegetables to remove chemicals or "pesticides" which may contain lead. Foods high in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C can help keep your child healthy and lead free.

The good news is that average blood lead levels for both children and adults have dropped more than 80 percent since the late 1970s. The bad news is that blood lead levels remain higher among children in low-income families, especially those living in older housing where leaded paints may have been used.

Test your child for lead poisoning at 9 months old and each year until they are age 6. Ask your healthcare provider for more information.

Links and Resources