Did you know that lead paint is the most common source of lead exposure in children, and is common in homes built before 1978? Since most homes in Boston were built before 1978, children in Boston are at increased risk of lead exposure. Lead exposure often leads to lead poisoning, which may cause developmental delays, neurologic changes, abdominal pain, and irritability. Children are exposed to lead mostly through lead paint in their homes, through the ingestion and inhalation of leaded dust and chips from deteriorating lead paint or soil contaminated with lead in their yards.
Here are some things you can do to protect your child from lead poisoning:
- Regularly clean up dust and chips from paint that has come off of window and door trim, doors, door jams, and from soil that may have been tracked into your home.
- Make sure your child washes their hands when coming inside from playing, and make sure they take off their shoes before entering the house.
- Ask your child's doctor about getting your child tested for lead exposure. All children up to age 4 are required to be tested each year for lead exposure. We recommend that all children up to age 6 be tested.
- Get your home inspected for lead-based paint. Call the Lead Program at 617-534-5965 for more information about home inspections.
- Paint and renovate your home safely. Call the Lead Program at 617-534-5965 to learn more.
- Does your home have a lead service line? Check the Boston Water and Sewer Commission's website.
If you child has lead poisoning, we can help. We provide home visits and case management to families with children less than 6 years of age with concerns about lead. BPHC's Lead Program and Boston Medical Center's Pediatric Lead Clinic can provide treatment and other services if your child has tested positive for lead.
The MA Lead Law protects a child's right to a lead-safe home. It requires the removal or covering of lead paint hazards in homes built before 1978 where any children under 6 live. Landlords cannot reject you or evict you because of lead, and homeowners are required to remove or cover lead paint hazards in homes where a child under the age of 6 lives. Boston's Department of Neighborhood Development, MassHousing, and Boston Water and Sewer Commission offer financial assistance to homeowners to help them address lead hazards.
For more information, visit the Lead Program's webpage or call 617-534-5965.