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Frequently Asked Questions About Lead Poisoning

How do people become exposed to lead in the home?

Lead exposure is primarily through ingestion and inhalation with lead dust being the principal means of poisoning in children. Lead-based paint is the primary source of lead exposure to most children in the United States, but is found in many other places or objects including solder used in older plumbing fixtures, pewter, tin cans, some colored newsprint, pottery, some mini-blinds and water. Prior to 1970 lead was added to gasoline to help prevent engine knock and was a major source of lead contamination. Although greatly reduced, this contamination can still be present in soils.

Who is at risk for lead exposure?

Children under the age of six are at the greatest risk because they explore and learn using a lot of hand to mouth contact. Children absorb lead more easily into their bodies than adults and there are usually no symptoms of lead poisoning. If you think lead poisoning is only an inner city problem you're wrong! Children from all geographic areas--rural and urban--are at risk. Even homes that are in good shape, but have old wooden sash windows or large areas of wood-to-wood friction or impact surfaces, can have high concentrations of lead dust.

How concerned should I be with my child's exposure when doing home renovations?

It has been shown by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) that 100 percent of the children that live in homes that contain lead paint and are under renovation will become lead poisoned. Before having any renovation work done to your home, it is very important to have your home tested for lead. This will provide the information needed to help keep your children safe.

Where do I get information on having my home tested for lead?

One place to begin is the National Lead Laboratory Accreditation Program (NLLAP) List of Laboratories in Michigan. This program has a list of laboratories recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as having met NLLAP laboratory performance requirements and having demonstrated they can accurately analyze for lead in paint chip, dust and/or soil samples associated with the abatement and control of lead-based paint. For more information contact:

National Lead Information Center Clearinghouse
1019 19th Street NW, Suite 401
Washington, DC, USA, 20036-5105
Toll-free: 800-424-LEAD

How can I find someone to remove the lead from my home?

You can contact the Michigan Department of Community Health Lead Hazard Remediation Program at 517-335-9390 for information on any lead remediation/abatement contractors in your area.