What can I do to protect my family from lead contamination that was found in my neighborhood?
If environmental exposure to lead is suspected, you should contact your local or state environmental office to determine if there are known or suspected sources of lead in the area. If there are known or suspected sources of lead, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips.htm offers the following recommendations for reducing exposure to lead.
- Talk to your state or local health department about testing paint and dust from your home for lead.
- Make sure your child does not have access to peeling paint or chewable surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
- Pregnant women and children should not be present in housing built before 1978 that is undergoing renovation. They should not participate in activities that disturb old paint or in cleaning up paint debris after work is completed.
- Create barriers between living/play areas and lead sources. Until environmental cleanup is completed, parents should clean and isolate all sources of lead. They should close and lock doors to keep children away from chipping or peeling paint on walls. Temporary barriers, such as contact paper or duct tape, can be applied to cover holes in walls or to block children’s access to other sources of lead.
- Regularly wash children’s hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil. Both are known lead sources.
- Regularly wet-mop floors and wet-wipe window components. Because household dust is a major source of lead, parents should wet-mop floors and wet-wipe horizontal surfaces every 2-3 weeks. Windowsills and wells can also contain high levels of leaded dust. They should be kept clean. If feasible, windows should be shut to prevent abrasion of painted surfaces or opened from the top sash.
- Prevent children from playing in bare soil; if possible, provide them with sandboxes. Parents should plant grass on areas of bare soil or cover the soil with grass seed, mulch, or wood chips, if possible. Until the bare soil is covered, parents should move play areas away from bare soil and away from the sides of the house. EPA also recommends that children eat nutritious foods as specified in that National Dietary Guidelines because children with good diets absorb less lead.