Lead Poisoning Prevention
Today, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet nearly half a million U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). A simple blood test can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime.
- Get Your Home Tested. Ask for a lead inspection before you buy a home built before 1978.
- Get Your Child Tested. Ask your doctor to test your young children for lead even if they seem healthy.
- Get the Facts: Learn how to prevent lead poisoning.
- Parents: Fact sheet from the Virginia Department of Health
- Kids: "Ethan's House Gets Healthier" coloring book
About Lead – Fairfax County
Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead may cause a range of health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children 6 years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.
National research suggests that the primary sources of lead exposure for most children are:
- Deteriorating lead-based paint
- Lead contaminated dust
- Residential soil
Locally we have observed culturally unique cosmetics and homeopathic or home remedies that contain lead.
Changes in the law have greatly reduced the amount of lead in our homes and in the air today. But it is important to remember that lead does not break down over time. Therefore, you should know how to identify sources of lead in your home and how to keep your family safe.
Fairfax County Health Department conducts case management for all reports of lead poisoning in children under age 6. When a report is received of a child with a significantly elevated blood lead level, a Fairfax County Health Department multidisciplinary Lead Response Team conducts an Elevated Blood Lead Level Environmental Investigation and educates the household members about reducing lead exposure.
Here are a few resources for your use in safeguarding your home and children from lead:
- What is lead poisoning?
- Who is at risk?
- What are the effects?
- How do I know if my child has lead poisoning?
- What are the primary sources of lead exposure?
- How are children exposed?
- How can lead exposure be prevented?
- What services does the Health Department provide for children with lead poisoning?
- Virginia Department of Health: Lead Safe Program
- Lead recalls can be found on the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission website.
- Environmental Protection Agency (EPA): Learn About Lead | EPA en español
- CDC health information on lead
- EPA lead regulations now apply to all contractors for renovation, repair or painting in homes built before 1978.