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Lead Poisoning Prevention

Protect Your Children...
Learn About Lead!

Testing for lead.

“At one and two, testing for lead
   is what you do.”

It's the law in New York State!
Your child's doctor must test for lead during the Well Child exam.
Ask for a lead test when your child is one year old and again at two years old.

What are the dangers of lead?

Lead poisoning is a serious health problem for children. Lead poisoning damages growing cells and tissues and can cause any of the following problems in children:

  • a lower IQ
  • hearing loss
  • anemia
  • kidney damage
  • growth problems
  • behavior problems

If your child has lead in his or her blood, new and growing cells and tissues continue to be damaged. The more lead in your child's blood, the more damage it causes.

How do children get lead poisoning?

For many years most house paints were made with lead in them. For that reason the paint in a lot of older homes contains lead. In an older house, your child can easily be exposed to the lead in old paint in these ways:

  • paint chips that break off walls.
  • dust from cracking paint or plaster that settles on toys, food or bedding.
  • hot water from old lead pipes.

A new coat of paint may cover up the danger. But chipping and crumbling plaster walls can expose the old lead paint and the danger returns.

Lead Free Kids for a Healthy Future

How to protect children from lead poisoning.

Keep your child away from sources of lead.

  • find out if there is a dangerous amount of lead in your house or apartment.
  • keep children away from peeling paint and broken plaster.
  • wash your child's hands and face often to remove any lead dust or dirt.
  • wash your child's toys often, especially teething toys.

Keep your home or apartment free of lead.

  • have the paint and plaster on your walls tested for lead before you renovate or remodel.

Keep your community safe from lead poisoning.

  • work to keep lead dust out of the environment. If you see uncontrolled grinding or sanding of exterior paint in your residential area, find out if the surfaces have been tested for lead. Or notify the Tompkins County Health Department at 274-6688.

Remodeling Safety: Know before you work on your home.

Whether you do it yourself or hire it out, before you remodel or renovate your older (pre-1979) home, learn the latest safe remodeling practices!

  • Have painted surfaces tested before disturbing them. Call Environmental Health (EH) at 274-6688 about sampling and testing services.
  • Interpret results correctly. Make sure you understand how lead content is described, what levels are acceptable, and who may be affected. Ask EH staff to assist you.
  • Proceed responsibly. Tompkins County Sanitary Code considers lead paint dust an environmental hazard. Uncontrolled discharge of lead paint dust is a violation of the code and could result in substantial daily fines. The US-EPA requires contractors to be certified for lead paint removal.
    For more complete info about lead paint removal, click here.

Who to call and how to find out more about lead.

To find out more about having your child tested for lead:

  • Call Community Health Services at the Health Department, (607) 274-6604.

To find out more about having your home or apartment tested for lead:

  • Call the Environmental Health Division of the Health Department, (607) 274-6688.

Other web sites with information about lead:

Page updated: July 16, 2012  |  Contact Webmaster