Questions to Ask

Do you live in an older home? Many older homes have lead-based paint or lead water pipes. Lead paint was banned in 1978. Homes built before 1950 are most likely to have lead in paint and water pipes.

Is there cracking, chipping, or flaking paint in your home?

Are there places where paint is being rubbed, such as on a door or in a window frame? This can make dust that has lead in it.

Do you have water pipes made with lead or joined with lead solder? Water that flows through them may contain lead. Lead pipes are dull gray and scratch easily with a key or penny.

Has your home been recently remodeled or renovated? Projects may leave dust or paint chips with lead.

Is there lead in the soil outside your home? It may have gotten there from paint on the outside of the building or from industry. Or it may have come from car exhaust from the days when gasoline contained lead. Children can be poisoned if they play in soil that has lead in it or if someone tracks the soil inside the home.

• Does someone you live with work where lead is used? Some jobs that might create lead dust are: construction, bridge building, sandblasting, ship building, plumbing, battery making and recycling, car repair, furniture refinishing, and foundry casting. Workers can bring lead dust home on clothing, skin, or shoes.

• Do you have children under age six who have not had a blood test for lead? Young children should be tested for lead. This is especially true if you live in an older home, if your home has recently been remodeled, or if a brother, sister or a playmate has tested high for lead. Ask your doctor to test your children beginning at six months of age, and then every year until age six.

• Have neighbor children or playmates ever had a high blood lead test?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, your children may be at risk for lead poisoning. Look at the Action Steps on the next page to find out what you can do to protect your children's health!

The Blood Test for Lead

• It only takes a small blood sample to tell if your child has lead poisoning.

• Ask your health care provider about testing.

• Lead levels are measured in micrograms per deciliter (p/dL).

• If your child's level is 10 p/dh or more, it is too high.

• You need to find out how she or he is getting the lead.

• Your health care provider can help you find out what to do.

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