Lead can be dangerous. Unfortunately, it was commonly used, especially in paint, into the late 1970’s. Knowing what to be on the lookout for can help you to manage most potential problems.

Old Homes

  • Homes built before 1978 are more likely to have lead-based paint. Often times lead paint is still present under layers of newer paint. When paint is in good shape, the lead is not a problem. However, paint that begins to peel, crack, chip, is damaged, or becomes damp can quickly become hazardous and need to be taken care of immediately.
  • Do not allow children to play or eat around window areas.
  • Inspect and maintain all paint surfaces in the home and keep them in good shape. Before doing any kind of renovations, repairs, or new paint projects consider consulting a lead professional.
  • Encourage those entering the house to wipe and remove shoes before entering. Place dust mats inside and outside of entryways.
  • Inspect the exterior of your home, including porches and fences, for signs of flaking or deteriorating lead-based paint. These types of particles can contaminate soil or the yard and be tracked inside.
  • Do your research to find out if you have a lead service line. You can do this by contacting your water utility provider or a licensed plumber.


  • Dust particles are a common source of lead poisoning because they are easily ingested. Keep your home as dust free as possible by cleaning frequently. Clean with a wet mop, cloth, or sponge to reduce the occurrence of chips and dust. Be sure to wash all window wells and sills, railings, and door frames.
  • Make a habit of washing your children’s hands with soap and water before eating, napping, and at bedtime.
  • Wash all bottles, teething toys and rings, and other baby toys with soap and water.
  • If an adult in the home works in a job where lead is used, encourage them to shower and change clothes and shoes when coming home. These types of jobs may include painters, remodelers, battery plant workers, and those in auto body shops.
  • Work clothes should be washed separately from other laundry. Run the rinse cycle before using the washer again.
  • Keep windows closed on days that are windy to avoid lead-contaminated soil from entering the home.

Soil, Yards, and Playgrounds

  • Lead in soil can be ingested through hand to mouth activity and from eating food taken up from soil containing lead. Soil typically becomes contaminated through deterioration of exterior paints on fences, buildings, and equipment. Lead can also be found near major roadways or intersections in urban areas due to the past use of leaded gasoline. Older playground equipment may contain lead-based paint and shredded rubber used in artificial turf and playground areas can contain lead.
  • Don’t plant a garden in lead-contaminated soil. A container garden would be a better choice.
  • Encourage those entering the house to wipe and remove shoes before entering. Place dust mats inside and outside of entryways.
  • Be cautious when allowing children to play in bare soil.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after playing or working outside.
  • Plant bushes close to your home to keep children from playing in areas near soil.

When it comes to your family, safety comes first. It’s important to know what lead risks there may be and what precautions you can take to avoid potential problems.


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