Lead Exposure Prevention

Lead is a neurotoxin commonly found in our daily lives. Over the last several decades, the United States has taken many steps to reduce the sources of lead exposure in our environment. Lead has been eliminated from gasoline, paint, and solder; however, you can still be exposed to lead from many different sources including:

  • Dust containing lead from pre-1978 lead paint
  • Paint chips
  • Contaminated soils
  • Water
  • Ceramic plates, bowls, and glasses
  • Imported candy, toys, cosmetics, and jewelry

Lead can cause serious health problems, especially for pregnant women and young children. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has indicated that no safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to affect IQ, ability to pay attention, academic achievement, and other behavioral issues.

However, lead exposure is preventable, and lead-free children and lead-safe homes are possible. The Allegheny County Health Department offers many resources to help make your home lead-safe. Learn more about preventing lead poisoning on our prevention page.

Lead exposure may not immediately produce symptoms in a child. The only way to if your child has been exposed to lead is to test their blood. Allegheny County now requires every child to be tested for lead exposure. The first test will be done when a child is 9-12 months old and the second test will be done around 24 months old. See the inaugural Lead Report(PDF, 2MB), which was presented at the Board of Health meeting on September 12, 2018.

For more information about our new Universal Lead Testing Regulations, please see our testing page.

Information about Lead Exposure

Information for Groups