Lead paint was commonly used in homes until 1978. Homes built before then are at greatest risk for lead exposure and account for 80% of elevated lead levels in children.
When the lead paint in these homes chips, crumbles, or begins peeling, the resulting dust contains lead and poses a health risk.
Lead-containing pipes were used until 1986. These pipes can wear down and release lead into the drinking water entering your home. Plumbing fixtures and fittings can also contain lead, if they were purchased before 2014. All these sources present a health risk. Pregnant women and infants using formula made from tap water are especially vulnerable.
Municipal water authorities are required to test for lead in drinking water every three years. These utilities are required to maintain healthy drinking water.
Lead paint on the outside of homes may weather and cause lead contamination in nearby soil.
Demolished homes or vacant lots may also have lead in the soil, especially if lead-containing products were used in the once-standing property. Other sources of lead in soil are past use of leaded gasoline and industrial sites, such as smelters, batteries and incinerators. Testing for lead in soil is always strongly recommended.
The type of paint used in imported toys may contain lead. Frequently visit the Consumer Product Safety Commission Recall List to check the safety of your child’s toys.
Other sources of lead may include: antique furniture, artificial turf fields, certain jobs and hobbies (such as auto body, battery making, hunting, fishing and stained glass), glazed pottery, some cosmetics and certain spices.