Lead Poisoning Prevention and Surveillance

photo of paint peeling off houseLead is a highly toxic metal that has been commonly used in many household, industrial and automobile products, including paint, solder, batteries, brass, car radiators, bullets, pottery, etc.

Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for infants, children and pregnant women. Too much lead in the body can cause damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous system and red blood cells.

Who is at Risk of Lead Poisoning

People who work in jobs that involve lead (such as sandblasting old paint or manufacturing lead-acid batteries) are at risk of lead poisoning. Workers can also bring lead home on shoes and work clothes, thereby placing family members at risk.

photo of little girlYoung children are at highest risk because their developing bodies absorb lead more easily.  Lead dust exposure can have life-long health effects such as lowering a child’s IQ.  In adults, lead can cause high blood pressure, increase the risk of miscarriage for pregnant women, and result in decreased fertility in men.

The only way to find out if someone has been exposed to too much lead is by a blood test. All children should be tested for lead at ages one and two. Your healthcare provider may advise you to have your children tested more often.

If you are an adult who works with lead, we recommend that you get a blood test to learn how much lead is in your bloodstream and that you discuss the results with your physician.

Lead Resources and Information

For more information, or to report a high lead level:

Call the Lead Surveillance Program

Lead Resource GuideLead free Kids Poster

See our Lead Resource Guide for information and resources about protecting children from lead, lead-safe work practices, essential maintenance practices requirements for landlords, guidelines for blood lead screening for health care providers, and more.

The US Environmental Protection Agency has additional resources about lead in New England.

Renovate Right

Renovate RightFixing up a house built before 1978? Use this guide to make sure you renovate right.

This guide provides basic facts about lead and information about lead safety when work is being done in your home, your building or the child care facility or school your children attend.

Henry and Fred Learn about Lead

Henry and fred Learn about LeadThis book and video teaches young children the dangers of lead poisoning, and how they can protect themselves.

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Alerts and Recalls

Department of Health Advisories and Alerts


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