Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead baby

Important Facts About Lead

  • Lead is found in many places - old paint, dust, soil, some toys/jewelry/spices from other countries, etc.
  • Our bodies have no good use for lead, it is poison and it takes the place of important nutrients: iron, calcium, zinc.
  • Signs of poisoning like irritability, loss of appetite, and learning problems usually don't appear until unsafe amounts of lead have built up.
  • Small amounts of lead can do lasting damage to babies and young children and symptoms may not be obvious.
  • A blood test is the only way to find out how much lead someone may have been exposed to.
  • For extreme cases, chelation therapy helps lower the blood lead level, but it does not reduce the harm already done.
  • There is no cure; the only way to avoid lead poisoning is to minimize contact with lead hazards.

Prevent Lead Poisoning

While progress has been made in reducing lead poisoning, lead still remains in our environment. Children are especially at risk of life-long damage due to lead exposure. We can work together to protect future generations from this toxin.

Take Action!

  • Make sure children are tested at ages 1 & 2
  • Be aware of possible lead hazards in or near any buildings built before 1978
  • Use lead-safe practices when renovating, repairing, or painting a building built before 1978
  • If you are pregnant be sure to get tested for lead, avoid doing renovations yourself, make sure people doing renovations are EPA certified and use lead safe work practices, and test for lead dust when renovation is complete

(Updated 2/8/2022)

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 ThreatAre You Pregnant

    Additional Links

    Western New York Lead Poisoning Resource Center
    New York State Department of Health
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
    National Ground Water Association

    (Updated 2/8/2022)