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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. To learn whether your home's service line contains lead, check out the Boston Water & Sewer Commission's lead service line map.​
  • Consumer products like toys, toy jewelry, and folk medicines may also contain lead, though this is more rare today than in the past.
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.​

For more information, check out: 

What We Offer
  • 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: We can help you find whether there are hazardous sources of lead in your home and address the problem appropriately. For example, if your child has high blood lead levels, we can help you figure out if your child was exposed to lead paint in your home. If we find lead paint in your home, our licensed constable can write and serve Orders to your landlord to ensure the lead paint violation is corrected
  • Enforcement: 
    • 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 the home has no lead hazards or if all the lead hazards are corrected, we can issue a Letter of Compliance to the property owner.​
  • Outreach & education: We provide services to make sure your child is safe and help you learn more about lead. Services include:
    • 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 Resources
For more information, please call the Environmental & Occupational Health Division at 617-534-5965 or email

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