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A Healthy Home

Lead in Paint and Other Products

Lead can harm children's health, learning, and behavior, with young children being at the highest risk. It became illegal to use leaded paint after 1960, but many older buildings still have layers of lead paint on their walls. You can get lead poisoning by breathing in lead dust or by eating herbal remedies or other products that have lead in them. Young children may put bits of peeling paint in their mouths.

family

Lead can harm you and your unborn baby. It can cause:

  • High blood pressure in a pregnant woman
  • Miscarriage
  • Babies born too soon or too small
  • Learning and behavior problems in a child.

Pregnancy and Lead Poisoning: What Every Woman Should Know
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 Peeling Lead Paint Turns Into Poisonous Dust: 5 Simple Ways to Protect Your Child PDF Document (Reader Required; Click to Download)
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If you think you may have been exposed to lead, ask your doctor about a blood lead test. A blood lead test is the only way to find out if you have lead poisoning and get treatment.

Protect yourself and your children:

  • Use cold tap water for making baby formula or baby cereal, and for drinking or cooking. Lead can get into water through old plumbing.
  • Report peeling or damaged paint to your landlord. Your landlord must safely fix peeling paint. If this does not happen, call 311 for help.
  • Keep children away from peeling paint and home repairs.
  • Wash floors and windowsills often. Wash children's hands and toys too.
  • Remove shoes before entering your home.
  • Wash work clothes separately from the family laundry if someone in your household works with lead.

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