Action Steps to Reduce Lead Exposure
- In older homes that may have been painted with lead-based paint (often built before 1978); ensure household members avoid peeling paint and paint dust in window sills. Homes built before 1950 pose the greatest hazard to children because they are more likely to contain lead-based paint. Since lead-based paint wasn’t banned until 1978, 83% to 86% of these homes have lead-based paint. 47% of Fairfax County homes were built before 1978 and are at risk of having lead based paint.
- Any peeling paint should be removed and the paint chips swept away. Removal of lead paint is hazardous and should be done by a qualified professional. Children should not be present when scraping or cleaning up paint chips.
- Dust should be kept to a minimum by damp mopping and using a wet cloth to clean walls, window sills, and other surfaces.
- Wash your hands regularly , particularly before meals and after playing outside.
- Do not store food in open cans, particularly if the cans are imported.
- Avoid eating from, cooking with or storing food in pottery and ceramic dinnerware that is intended for decorative use or the lead content is unknown.
- Eat foods rich in calcium and iron to prevent lead absorption into the body.
- Anyone whose homes were built prior to 1986, or who may be particularly concerned about lead in their household plumbing, should let cold water run from the faucet for 60-90 seconds prior to using water for drinking or cooking, keeping in mind that boiling water does not reduce lead in water.
- Read about lead-hazard information for renovation, repair and painting activities in the EPA lead hazard information pamphlet Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools (PDF) (20 pp, 3.3MB) | en español (PDF) (20 pp, 3.2MB)
- More tips for preventing childhood lead poisoning may be found on the EPA site or obtained by calling 1-800-424-LEAD.