Lead is a metal found in nature. It can be found in all parts of our environment – the air, the soil, the water, and even inside our homes. Lead is a poison when it gets into the body, and it can stay in the body for a long time. Babies and young children absorb lead more easily than adults, so it is especially bad for their health.
Lead poisoning is when lead builds up in the body, usually over months or years. It can:
- Hurt the brain, kidneys, and nervous system
- Slow down growth and development
- Make it harder for the child to learn
- Damage hearing and speech
- Cause behavior problems
The harm done by lead may never go away, so it is important to get your child tested and treated.
Things you can do:
- Ask your child's doctor for a blood lead level test every year
- Make sure you child eats a healthy diet that includes foods that contain a lot of calcium, vitamin C, and iron
- Check regularly to see if any of your child's toys have been recalled. Visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission's website at http://www.cpsc.gov/. If your child's toy has been recalled, do not let them play with it and throw it away.
- If you're doing work on your home, make sure you're doing it safely. Only licensed and properly trained contractors can remove lead. Doing it yourself? Be sure to take the Boston Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program's Moderate Risk Deleading course.
- Find out if your home's water service line is made from lead by checking the Boston Water and Sewer Commission's (BWSC) database or by calling 617-989-7888.
- Call the Boston Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program to request an inspection. The inspector will be able to tell you whether your home's paint contains lead. Only complete home renovations or painting if you know your home's paint is lead-free. If your home's paint contains lead, the property owner must perform deleading.
To learn more about lead poisoning, request a lead inspection, or find out more about our moderate risk deleading course, call the Lead Poisoning Prevention Program at 617-534-5965.