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Environmental Health

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

What is lead and how can I be exposed?

Lead is metal naturally occurring in the environment and can be found in the soil, water, and inside our homes. Lead-based paint and lead dust are the major source for lead poisoning, especially from homes built before 1978

Other sources of lead can be found in drinking water, imported spices, toys and jewelry, workplace and hobby activities, and traditional medicine. 

How can lead affect a child's health?

Lead can affect almost every part of the body. Children younger than six years old are most affected because they absorb lead into their bodies up to 5 times faster than adults. Lead is associated with behavior and learning problems, lower IQ, and other health effects.

How do I know if my child has been exposed to lead?

In most children, no immediate symptoms occur. A blood lead test is the best way to determine if they have been exposed to lead. A finger-prick (capillary) test is a quick, first step to know if a child has been exposed to lead. If this is elevated, a more accurate, confirmatory venous blood lead test can be done. Both tests can be scheduled with your medical provider.

For Homeowners

For Parents and Caregivers

Populations at Risk

Educational Resources

Factsheet and Infographics
Preventing Lead

For Health Care Providers and Laboratories

For School and Child Care Providers

Local-to-Global Public Health Partners


Content source: Washington State-Department of Health, Centers for Disease Controls and Prevention (CDC)-Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR)