Sign In
Boston Public Health Commission Home


Babies and children are most at risk for lead poisoning because their bodies are smaller and their bodies and brains are developing quickly. They are​ typically exposed to lead in the following ways:
  • Paint​: Most Boston homes were built before 1978, which means they may have lead paint. Lead dust and chipping paint are the most common way for children to be exposed to lead. The Massachusetts Lead Law requires that property owners remove lead paint hazards from a home where a child under 6 years old lives, and requires that your child be screened once a year from ages 9 months to 4 years.
  • Water: Service lines made of lead can be a source of lead exposure through corrosion of plumbing materials. Click here to learn whether your home's service line contains lead.​
  • Consumer products like toys, toy jewelry, and folk medicines may also contain lead, though this is more rare today than in the past.
To learn more about lead, check out the EPA website, Boston Water & Sewer Commission website, and​ the information below.

Testing for Lead

It is important that your child be tested for exposure to lead. The Massachusetts Lead Law requires that your child be screened once a year from ages 9 months to 4 years. The Boston Public Health Commission recommends that children be screened from ages 6 months to 6 years. 

Contact your primary care provider and ask that your child get a blood test.​

Pediatric Lead Clinic

If your child is less than 6 years of age and has tested positive for lead, visit ​the​ Pediatric Lead Clinic at Boston Medical Center, which provides:

  • Case management
  • Medical follow-ups
  • Surveillance
  • Intervention
  • Chelation treatment (treatment to remove lead from the body)
Environmental Investigations

The Environmental Health Office can help you figure out how your child was exposed to lead and address the problem appropriately. For example, if one of our staff finds lead paint in your home, our licensed constable can write and serve Orders to ensure the lead paint violation is corrected, 

Property owners​ who fail to correct violations quickly are referred to Boston Municipal Housing Court. The BPHC legal counsel's office follows the case and adjudicates it in the Housing Division of Boston Municipal Court until the violation is corrected. 

If we do not find violations, we issue a Letter of Compliance to the property owner.​

To request an environmental investigation, please call the Environmental Health Office at 617-534-5965. You will likely be asked to download and complete the Parent Request Form, and submit it to the office at

What Else Do We Offer?

If your child has not tested positive for lead, we can still help! We provide services to make sure your child is safe, such as:

  • Home assessments
  • Educational home visits
  • Nutritional assessments
  • Follow-up visits​
  • Information on how to paint and renovate your home safely
  • Social work services
  • Healthy homes referrals
Additional Information
For more information, please call the Environmental Health Office at 617-534-5965. ​

Boston Public Health Commission
1010 Massachusetts Ave, 6th Floor, Boston, MA 02118.
Phone:(617) 534-5395 Email: