- Many houses and apartments built before 1978 have paint that contains
lead (called lead-based paint). Lead from paint, paint chips and dust
can pose serious health hazards if not taken care of properly.
- Lead exposure can be dangerous, especially to children ages 6 and younger.
- Exposure to lead-contaminated dust is the most common way to get lead
poisoning within the Columbia/Boone County area.
- Lead poisoning can be prevented!
Reducing the Risk of Lead in Your Home
- Some simple steps—like keeping your home clean, especially in areas where
lead paint may be present, and feeding your family a well-balanced diet—will
go a long way in preventing lead poisoning.
- Going one step further and getting your home tested for lead can also
help you and your family. One kind of test—known as a risk assessment—will
tell you where lead hazards are and what to do about them.
- Lead-based paint is usually not harmful if it—
- is not chipping or flaking AND
- is not bumped, rubbed or chewed.
- Lead-based paint can create harmful lead dust if it is chipping,
flaking, bumped, rubbed or chewed.
Protecting Your Children From Lead Poisoning
- A child does not have to eat paint chips to get lead poisoning. It is
more common for a child to get lead poisoning by swallowing lead dust.
- Children who eat healthy foods are less likely to get lead poisoning.
- Your family, especially your children ages 6 and under, should be tested
for lead. It is the only way to detect lead poisoning.
What Your Children Need to Know
- Do not be afraid to visit your doctor.
- Do not put things other than food in your mouth.
- Play in grassy areas. Do not play in dirt!
- Wash your hands often.
- Make sure your parents wash your toys.
- Eat healthy foods—avoid eating too many fried or fatty foods.
What You Need to Know Before Remodeling or Renovating
- Lead-based paint is most often found around windows, in kitchens and
- Home projects done on lead-painted areas can create harmful lead dust.
- If you think your home has lead-based paint, hire a professional to test
for lead before beginning work.
- If your home has lead-based paint, it is best to hire a trained contractor
who knows how to work safely with lead to perform renovations.
- Abatement will permanently control or get rid of lead hazards in your
- Never perform an abatement yourself. Abatement must be done by a trained
and licensed professional.
- If an abatement is done incorrectly, the chances of lead poisoning can
Other Sources of Lead
While paint, dust and soil are the most common lead hazards other lead
sources also exist:
- Drinking water-your home might have plumbing with lead or lead
- Your job-if you work with lead, you could bring it home on your
hands or clothes.
- Old painted toys and furniture.
- Food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery
- Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the
- Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery, stained glass,
or jewelry, or refinishing furniture.
- Folk remedies that contain lead, such as “greta” and “azarcon” used to treat an upset stomach.
For more information
on lead hazards, lead poisoning prevention, blood-lead testing or certified
lead contractors, please contact the Columbia/Boone County Health
Return to the Clinic & Nursing Webpage or the Columbia/Boone County Health Department Homepage.