Lead Hazards

About Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is the condition of increased levels of lead in the blood. Lead is a natural occurring element that is used commonly in commercial & industrial products. People have small levels of lead in their bloodstream and it may cause no problems, but increased or prolonged exposure can result in lead poisoning. Lead poisoning is especially a concern for children under six years of age. For this reason, it is important for parents, and current and future home buyers to understand the dangers of lead poisoning.

Dangers of Lead

Lead can prevent a child from developing to his or her potential. Research has demonstrated that childhood exposure to lead at unsafe levels can cause learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, and brain damage. In pregnant women, lead exposure can pass through the body to the unborn child and result in birth defects or miscarriage. Lead may be found in dust, paint, glazed pottery or crystal from other countries; drinking water, pipes and soil.

Know the signs of lead poisoning and the effects it can have on your children.

  • Lead poisoning can cause damage to the kidneys, nervous system, and brain
  • Lead poisoning may also cause hearing, behavior and learning problems in young children
  • Once organ systems are hurt, the damage is often irreversible
  • Often lead poisoning goes undetected because the initial signs are similar to common ailments.

Steps to Prevent Lead Contamination in Your Home:

  • Taking shoes off when entering the home can keep lead dust levels to a minimum;
  • When opening windows, clean out dust and paint chips with an all-purpose cleaner;
  • Wash children's hands and toys often, to keep them from ingesting lead dust;
  • Old porcelain bathtubs and sinks are often coated with a lead glaze - have them reglazed;
  • Antique cribs and other furniture were often painted with lead paint;
  • Baseboards and wood floors were painted with lead paint for durability;
  • Pottery, ceramics, and crystal often contain high amounts of lead;
  • Eating foods high in iron and calcium can decrease the amount of lead absorbed into the bloodstream;
  • Replace all older vinyl mini-blinds, as they may contain high amounts of lead;
  • Before refinishing furniture or stripping paint, be aware of the possible dangers and use proper safety measures and techniques;
  • Make sure crayons are either made in America or meet American Society for Testing and Materials standards.

Dangers of working with Lead:

Below are some pamphlets with information regarding lead poisoning and steps you can take to decrease the risk of lead poisoning in your child.

  • Lead Poisoning: The Silent Menace (pdf)
  • Lead Hazard Control (US Department of Housing and Urban Development)
  • Lead Brochure (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) (pdf)
  • Lead Safety Field Guide (US Department of Housing and Urban Development) (pdf)
  • Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home (Environmental Protection Agency)- English
  • Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home (Environmental Protection Agency)- Spanish
  • Tips for a Cleaner, Safer Home (pdf)
  • Temporary Ways to Keep your Children Safe from Lead Hazards (pdf) 

For more information, please search on the following:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - CDC's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) - Lead

US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) - Office of Lead Control

Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) - Healthy Homes Initiative

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) - Lead in Paint, Dust & Soil & Lead Hotline

National Center for Healthy Housing



To find the most recent lead recalls, go to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission and conduct a search for "lead" recalls.