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Parents & Families


Parents and families play a very important role in efforts to end lead poisoning. Children birth to age 6 and pregnant women are at the highest risk of absorbing lead from their environments. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified; even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The good news is that childhood lead poisoning is 100% preventable.

The CDC recommends lead hazard control and removal as the primary strategy for lead poisoning prevention, and blood lead testing and monitoring as a secondary prevention strategy. Learn more about how to prevent lead poisoning from the CDC Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program.

The primary source of lead poisoning is lead-based paint and related lead dust. Lead dust in the home is caused by chipping, peeling, flaking or deteriorating lead-based paint and can exist in even the cleanest of homes. When lead dust is ingested or inhaled, even in minuscule amounts, it can cause significant and irreversible brain damage as well as other health problems. A lead dust equivalent of only three granules of sugar can poison a child.

In addition, lead poisoning can come from a variety of other areas. These include lead in water, lead in ceramics and toys, and lead dust created by factories that can settle in soil. As a result, it is vital to check to ensure that lead does not exist as an environmental factor in your home.

Actions You Can Take

  • If you live in a home that was built before 1978 have your home tested for lead paint by a certified lead paint assessor.

  • Have your children tested for lead exposure at 12 and 24 months.

  • If you notice chipping or peeling paint in your home, be sure repair it using lead safe work practices and certified workers:

    • Use proper containment

    • Work wet to control lead dust and paint chips during removal

    • Keep occupants out of the work area

    • Clean up properly

  • Download additional education resources on the issue, including:

  • The EPA also has a Spanish-language website to cover lead-related issues. Access the new site

  • If you live in Hattiesburg find out if you qualify for the Lead Safe Hattiesburg Program

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