Sources, Prevention & Treatment

Sources of Lead Poisoning

The major source of lead exposure among U.S. children is lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978, but there are about 24 million housing units in the U.S. that have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than four million of these dwellings are home to one or more young children.

Other sources of lead poisoning are related to hobbies, such as stained-glass windows; work related to recycling or making of automobile batteries; drinking water from lead pipes, solder, brass fixtures, or valves; home health remedies such as azarcon and greta which might be used for upset stomach or indigestion, or pay-loo-ah used for rash or fever.

Preventing / Treating Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned by lead. Parents with concern about their child's blood lead level should visit with their physician to see if testing is indicated.
  • Damp-mopping floors and surfaces touched by children, along with frequent hand washing, as well as frequent washing of pacifiers and toys, can also reduce exposure to lead.
  • Using only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking, and for making baby formula can also reduce lead poisoning risks.
  • Keeping cosmetics out of the reach of children is also advisable in reducing risks to children.
  • Having outdoor play areas free of batteries, old paint cans, and having the soil covered with grass or other appropriate ground cover for child play is advisable, as well.
Adults should consult with their local health department when undertaking remodeling activities for further suggestions on how to identify possible of lead sources and ways to reduce risk to humans.

More Information

The Jefferson County Health Department can complete lead testing for children determined to be at risk. Parents may call the Health Department at (785) 863-2447 with further questions or for additional information. You may also consult the Centers for Disease Control and the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.