Lead dust on surfaces in older homes is the most common source of lead poisoning. Children are especially at risk. Here's how you can protect your family from lead:

Find out if your home has lead paint

  • Find out when your home was built. Homes built before 1978 may have been painted with lead-based paint.
  • Inspect your home for signs of chipping, peeling or deteriorating paint.
  • Clean up paint chips immediately and keep paint in good condition.
  • Use lead-safe work practices or hire a lead-safe professional for maintenance, renovations or repair.

Keep your home clean

  • Keep the places where children play clean and dust free. Regularly wipe floors, window sills and other surfaces that may contain lead dust with a damp cloth.
  • Wash children’s hands often, especially before meals and after playing outside.
  • Wash toys, stuffed animals, bottles and pacifiers often to remove lead dust.
  • Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in soil that may contain lead.
  • Have children play on grass instead of bare soil. Provide a sandbox with lead-free sand.

Other ways

  • Provide meals high in iron, vitamin C, and calcium. These minerals and vitamins help prevent young bodies from absorbing lead.
  • Use cold water for drinking, cooking or making baby formula to prevent consuming water that has sat in the pipes too long. Run the water 15-30 seconds until it feels colder.
  • Do not use home remedies or cosmetics that may contain lead.
  • Do not use imported, old, or handmade pottery to cook, store or serve food or drinks.
  • If you work with lead in your job or hobby, change clothes and shower before you go home.

Find out if your child is at risk

Your child may be at risk for lead poisoning if you answer "yes" or "don't know" to the questions below. Signs of lead poisoning are not always easy to see, so if your child is at risk you should have your child tested.

  1. Does your child spend time in an old home or building built before 1950?
  2. Has your child recently spent time in an old home or building where repairs and/or remodeling was being done?
  3. Has your child recently spent time in an old home or building where painting is being done inside or outside the home?
  4. Does your child have a brother or sister who has lead poisoning or does your child know anyone with lead poisoning?
  5. Does your child spend time with anyone who uses lead in their work or hobbies? (Such as painting, remodeling, auto radiators, batteries, auto repair, soldering, making sinkers, bullets, stained glass, pottery, going to shooting ranges, hunting or fishing).
  6. Do you use imported pottery, ceramics, lead crystal or pewter for cooking or storing or serving food?
  7. Has your child ever taken traditional or home remedies or used make-up imported into the U.S.?
  8. Has your child visited or lived outside the U.S.in the last 6 months?

Questions? Call the Leadline


Lead prevention information and referral. Spanish-speaking staff and interpreters in other languages available.