Lead exposure can cause serious harm, particularly to young children and pregnant women. Lead poisoning can affect brain development leading to learning disabilities in children; and, increase the risk of miscarriage, birth defects and anemia. Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Other sources of lead poisoning are contaminated water, soil, air and some toys and cosmetics. Lead can enter the body through the mouth (eating or breathing) or through the skin (by way of a cut or scrape).
The local health department provides free or low-cost lead screening for children six years old or under and prenatal patients. Case management and follow-up services for those with elevated blood lead levels are also available. All children under the age of six should be screened for lead poisoning. Children should be tested at age 9-12 months and again at 24 months. Children who are at higher risk may need to be tested more frequently. Contact your local health department for more information.