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Tips for Prevention

Get Your Child Tested

The Alabama Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (ACLPPP) recommends that all children have a blood lead test at 12 and 24 months of age. Testing can be completed as early as 9 months of age, especially if a child is at high risk. This blood test may be done by the health care provider through a simple finger stick procedure at their office or they may write an order for testing through a local hospital or laboratory.

Clean Your Home Regularly

The best way to clean is with a spray bottle and a damp cloth or mop. Clean floors, window ledges, and chewable surfaces at least twice a week with warm, soapy water or an all-purpose cleaner. Children's toys, pacifiers, and teething rings should also be washed frequently since they can pick up lead dust from the floor and other surfaces. Dry sweeping and dusting should not be used since this can increase the lead in the air and spread lead dust to other areas of your home.

Practice and Teach Good Hand Washing

Wash your hands after using the bathroom, before preparing food, and after cleaning. Make sure your children wash their hands as soon as they come in from outside, after using the bathroom, and before meals, naps, and bedtime. Good hand washing habits should be developed at an early age to prevent lead poisoning as well as many other diseases that can cause illness.

Flush Water Pipes Before Use

Let the cold water run for at least one minute before drinking it or using it for cooking. This should flush out any lead that has settled in the pipes. Only use cold tap water for drinking or cooking; however, use cool, sterile water for making baby formula instead of tap water.

Eat Regular, Healthy Meals

Make sure your child eats regular, healthy meals and snacks. An empty stomach will absorb more lead. Feed your child foods high in calcium and iron, but low in fat, to prevent lead absorption. Add foods high in vitamin C, such as oranges, peppers, broccoli, strawberries, and cantaloupe, to increase iron absorption. Refer to Make Good Food Choices to Help Prevent Lead Poisoning for more information.

Do Not Bring Lead Dust into Your Home

Remove shoes at the door to prevent tracking in any lead that may be outside the home in the soil or surrounding areas. If you or someone in your household works with or has hobbies with lead exposure, wash up and change your clothes and shoes before entering the home. Hobby materials that contain lead, such as fishing weights, bullets, and stained glass solder, should be stored out of reach of children and away from the living area, and there should be a dedicated work place outside of the home for working with these materials.

Renovate Right

If your home was built before 1978, and there are any areas of chipping or peeling paint, it is likely that your home is exposing you to lead. Areas with peeling paint should be kept clean and repaired as soon as possible, especially if there are young children or pregnant women living in the home. The ACLPPP recommends that you hire a lead certified contractor to complete any home repairs so that lead is not spread elsewhere. Young children and pregnant women should not stay in the home during renovation due to an increased risk for negative health outcomes.

Be Aware of Potential Sources of Lead

Major sources of lead include lead-based paint, lead dust, lead-related jobs and hobbies, contaminated soil, drinking water, and imported products.

  • Keep children away from chipping or peeling paint.
  • Wash hands, toys, and pacifiers often.
  • Encourage children to play in sand or grass away from structures, instead of the dirt.

For more information about what you can do to help make sure your child is lead-free, contact us or visit Data and Publications.

Page last updated: February 5, 2024