Even if you have lead paint or lead pipes in your home, you can still protect your family from lead poisoning. Keep children away from chipping lead paint, wash hands frequently, and flush your pipes any time you have not used the water in your home for six hours or more.
Keep your home safe from lead
Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems for children. Here are some ways you can keep your home safe from lead poisoning:
- Sweep and vacuum the floors daily.
- Keep children away from peeling paint and home repairs that disturb paint.
- Wash your children’s hands, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals before they eat or nap.
- Wipe down hard surfaces like floors, play areas, and windowsills with a wet cloth or paper towel at least once a week.
- Feed your family foods high in calcium, iron, and Vitamin C. These foods may help keep lead out of the body.
- Calcium is in milk, yogurt, cheese, and green leafy vegetables like spinach.
- Iron is in lean red meats, beans, peanut butter, and cereals.
- Vitamin C is in oranges, green and red peppers, and juice.
- Always wash fresh fruit and vegetables to remove chemicals or pesticides that may contain lead.
- Never cook with hot water. Always start with cold water to flush any lead deposits out of the pipes.
- If you work with paint, machines, building construction, dirt, or soil, leave work clothes at work or change clothes before you touch your child.
- Do not use health remedies and cosmetics (such as kohl, kajal, and surma) from other countries. Some of these products have been found to contain high levels of lead.
- Do not use imported glazed clay pots and dishes to cook, serve, or store food. Do not use pottery that is chipped or cracked.
- Use caution with foods, children’s toys, and jewelry made in other countries. These items may contain lead.
Living with lead pipes
If you have lead pipes, one way to keep your family safe is to flush or clean your pipes. Anytime you have not used the water in your home for six hours or more you should flush your pipes.
To do this, turn on the cold water faucet at the sinks where you get water for drinking and cooking and let the water run for 3 minutes. Other household water uses like washing clothes, showering, or flushing the toilet are also good ways to bring fresh water from our system into your home plumbing.
Watch a video about daily cleaning tips for lead pipes.
Talk to your landlord
It is important to find and fix lead in your home as soon as possible. If you rent your home, talk to your landlord about any peeling or chipping paint. They should repair it quickly in a lead-safe manner. Home repairs like sanding or scraping paint can create dangerous dust. Make sure all repairs are done safely without stirring up lead dust.
If your landlord doesn’t repair the issue, you can report it to the Department of Licenses and Inspections by calling 311.
Repair lead hazards
Landlords are required to test and certify rental properties as lead-safe or lead-free regardless of a child’s age, in order to:
- Execute a new or renewed lease or
- Receive or renew a rental license.
If the Department of Public Health tests a home for lead paint and finds that there is a hazard, the landlord should hire an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certified firm to fix it. These companies employ certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices. If a landlord or homeowner does not repair the lead hazards in their property, they may be referred to Lead Court.