Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead babyFacts About Lead

  • Lead can be in old paint, dust, soil, antiques, and even toys, jewelry, and spices made in other countries.
  • It's poison. It makes our bodies not able to use important nutrients, like iron, calcium, and zinc.
  • Signs of lead poisoning are crankiness, not wanting to eat, and trouble learning. These don't occur until lead levels are very high. 
  • Even small amounts of lead that don't cause symptoms, can hurt the developing brains of babies and young children.
  • A blood test is needed to find out if a child has lead in their body.
  • For very high lead levels, a treatment called chelation (keel-ay-shun) helps get the lead out of the blood. It doesn't fix the damage already done, however. This is why it's so important to make sure babies and little children never come into contact with lead.

Prevent Lead Poisoning

  • Have your child tested at age one and two years.
  • Get tested if you are pregnant.
  • Lead was in paint until 1978. If you live in an old home or apartment there could be lead there. Check for old, cracked, and chipping paint.  
  • Be careful when renovating, repairing, or painting. Disturbing lead paint, creates dust that can find its way into your child's body.
  • If you rent, ask your landlord if any former resident was lead-poisoned while living there.

More information from the NY State Department of Health

(Updated 7/1/2022))

Lead Clean-up Progress, Geneva's Old Foundry


The Problem of Lead Poisoning in NY State and Ontario County

Child and Lead PaintLead poisoning is still a problem for children in Ontario County because many of our older homes were painted with lead based paints.  In 1978 lead based paints were removed from the market.

The ingestion of lead contaminated dust, paint, and soil is the primary cause of childhood lead poisoning. Lead can also be found in lead glazed or painted pottery, ammunition, fishing sinkers, stained glass solder, batteries, imported foods, candy, and toys

Children between the ages of 9 months and 6 years of age are at greatest risk of exposure to lead because they are apt to put fingers, hands, and toys in their mouths. Small children are eye level with window sills where lead paint could be lurking. They are at risk for lead poisoning if they chew on these areas or inhale lead-tainted dust created when windows are opened and closed. Children whose families are in the process of remodeling homes built or painted prior to 1978, are at increased risk for exposure to lead.

What can you do to protect your child from becoming lead poisoned? Washing Child's Hands

  • Wash your child’s hands often before nap time, meals, and bedtime. 
  • Wet dust and wet mop your home.  Throw away the wet paper towel after dusting.   
  • Take appropriate precautions when starting remodeling projects 
  • Feed your children a diet high in whole wheat breads, eggs, meat, milk, yogurt, cheese, and dark green vegetables. These types of foods help protect children’s bodies from becoming lead poisoned.

Lead poisoning has no initial symptoms but can lead to decreased IQ, learning disabilities, behavioral disorders, and anemia.  The only way to find out if your child is lead poisoned is to have his blood tested for lead. This should be done at the ages of one and two years of age.   

If you are worried about exposure to lead in your home, check out the Lead Poisoning Home Checklist. If you answer yes to any of the questions found there, contact Ontario County Public Health at 1(800)299-2995.

Click on pamphlets below to read:

Lead Poisoning Threat Opens in new windowAre You Pregnant Opens in new window

Additional Links

Western New York Lead Poisoning Resource Center- Rochester Office
Western New York Lead Poisoning Prevention Resource Center Brochure
New York State Department of Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
National Ground Water Association
 (Updated 10/24/2023)