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Dangers of lead

Lead poisoning is dangerous and can cause lasting health effects on babies and children. It is very important to prevent children from being harmed by lead.

Lead is a dangerous chemical that was used in interior household paint until 1978. If your home was built before 1978, it’s possible that there’s lead paint in your home. Lead paint is dangerous when it begins to chip, or when dust from the paint gets into the air.

Learn more about sources of lead.

Risk to children

Children younger than 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning. Their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

Most children who have lead poisoning get it from lead dust in homes built before 1978. When old paint cracks and peels, it creates lead dust. Lead dust from chipping paint can settle on the ground and other surfaces and get on children’s hands.

The City of Philadelphia encourages all children under age 6 to have their lead levels tested at age 1 and again at age 2. You cannot tell if your child has an elevated lead level from their behavior. The only way to know is to get them tested.

Even small amounts of lead can severely affect a child’s mental and physical development. Some of the effects of lead poisoning may never go away. At very high levels, lead exposure can be fatal.

Lead exposure can cause:

  • Speech and language problems.
  • Developmental delays.
  • Decreased bone and muscle growth.
  • Poor muscle coordination.
  • Damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing.
  • Seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels).

If a child has elevated lead levels

If your child has a lead level of 3.5 ug/dL (micrograms per deciliter) or higher, a member of the Lead and Healthy Homes Program will contact you. They will come to your home to help you determine the source of the lead and what you can do to keep your family safe. This service is free.

If you are a homeowner and can’t afford the necessary repairs, the City may help you get them for free. If you rent your home, the City will work with your landlord to make the property safe for your family.

Risk nan gwosès

Plon ka pase soti nan yon moun ki ansent nan yon ti bebe ki poko fèt. Si ou gen twòp plon nan kò ou, li kapab:

  • Mete ou nan risk pou foskouch.
  • Kòz tibebe w la fèt twò bonè oswa twò piti.
  • Fè mal nan sèvo tibebe w la, ren, ak sistèm nève.
  • Kòz pitit ou a gen pwoblèm aprantisaj oswa konpòtman.

Si ou ansent, ou ta dwe:

  • Evite nenpòt reparasyon kay ki ta ka mete ou an kontak ak pousyè penti plon.
  • Evite travay nan yon anviwònman kote ou ka ekspoze a plon pousyè.

Risk pou granmoun

Plon se danjere a tout moun, men li se pi plis danjere nan timoun pase sa li se granmoun.

Pou granmoun, plon ka lakòz domaj sante grav nan nivo 40 ug/dL (mikrogram pou chak deciliter) oswa pi wo.

Travay ak plon

Ekspoze pou granmoun anjeneral rive lè yon moun ap travay nan yon anviwònman kote yo ekspoze a plon.

Moun kapab tou ekspoze a plon nan itilize nan pwodwi plon-kontamine.

Si yon moun nan kay ou a ap travay ak pousyè plon, fè yo chanje rad lè yo rive lakay ou. Kenbe soulye travay deyò epi lave tout rad travay separeman nan rès la nan lesiv fanmi an.

Si ou gen enkyetid sou ekspoze granmoun a plon, pale ak doktè ou.