Lead and Children

What can I do to protect my family from lead poisoning?

Do’s for protecting your family from lead poisoning

  • Have your child’s blood lead level checked
  • Wash your child’s hands and face before eating or after playing to reduce lead dust that may be on their hands
  • Wash bottles, pacifiers, toys, and stuffed animals regularly
  • Feed your child foods high in Calcium, Iron and Vitamin C and D English Version/Spanish Version
  • Give your child healthy snacks throughout the day English Version/Spanish Version
  • Clean floors, porches, window sills and troughs with an all-purpose cleaner and paper towels, especially in areas where children play
  • Limit your child’s access to areas that have chipping or peeling paint
  • Notify your landlord of any chipping or peeling paint, especially if the home or apartment was built before 1978
  • Try to keep grass growing around the foundation of the house
  • Check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website for a list of recalled toys

Don'ts for exposing your family to lead poisoning

  • Let your child put their mouth on painted surfaces, eat paint chips, or play with vinyl mini-blinds
  • Let your child play with batteries or put batteries in their mouth
  • Let your child eat foods high in fat or sugar
  • Let your child touch or play with electrical cords or wires (television cables, computer cords, surge protector cords, Christmas lights, etc)
  • Let your child handle fishing weights or hunting supplies
  • Let your child play within 6-feet of the house foundation where old paint may have fallen into the soil, especially if there is bare soil (no grass or other covering)
  • Have pet areas within 6-feet of the house foundation English Version/Spanish Version
  • Plant a vegetable garden within 6-feet of the house foundation English Version/Spanish Version
  • Eat candies, chapulines,or saltamontes that contain high lead
  • Purchase metal toy jewelry that may contain lead
  • Bring lead dust home on your body, clothes, or car if you work in a lead related industryEnglish Version/Spanish Version

What if my child has a high blood lead level?

The Environmental Health Division will offer to do an environmental lead investigation to try and find the source(s) of lead in your home IF your child has two blood lead levels of 5-7µg/dL. An environmental lead investigation is required if your child has two blood lead levels of 8µg/dL or greater. Any child with a high blood lead level should have follow-up lead testing every 2 to 3 months until the child has two consecutive blood lead levels less than 5µg/dL (see the Forsyth County Board of Health Follow-up Schedule for lead testing of children under the age of 6).

How does diet affect lead poisoning?

A healthy diet helps protect against lead poisoning. Eating foods high in Calcium, Iron, and Vitamin C can keep lead from being absorbed and getting into the blood and bones. Foods high in Calcium include milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, green vegetables, and salmon. Foods high in Iron include iron-fortified cereals, whole grain breads, lean red meats, and tuna. Foods high in Vitamin C and D include fruit juices, oranges, grapefruits, potatoes, tomatoes, and red and green peppers. To learn more select on one of these fliers below:

What if I work in a lead related industry?

Shower and change clothes before you leave work. Don’t wear shoes that have been inside your work site into your vehicle or home. It is recommended to keep those shoes in a “Dirty Box” in the vehicle with a separate clean pair to wear home. Wash your work clothes or clothes that have been around your work site separately from your family’s clothes. To learn more select on one of these fliers below:

Can I just paint over existing lead-based paint?

Repairing damaged painted surfaces can temporarily reduce your family’s risk of lead exposure, but it is not a permanent solution. Never use a belt sander, dry scraper/sandpaper, water blasting, torch, flame, or heat gun on painted surfaces that may contain lead. A contractor who is certified to work with lead-based paint knows how to safely work around the potential hazard and should conduct any work needed.

Lead Poisoning