Test your children and your home for lead poisoning


CONTACT: Seratia Johnson, RN
(334) 206-2966

October 20-26, 2019, is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, and the Alabama Department of Public Health encourages parents to be aware of the need to test both their children and their home to prevent the serious health effects of lead poisoning.

The Alabama Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is a state public health program that focuses efforts on identifying and preventing lead exposure in children, especially those less than 6 years of age, because no safe level of lead in children has been identified. Even low levels of lead exposure can affect health, causing damage to the brain and nervous system, delayed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, as well as hearing and speech problems.

Parents need to know that their child should be tested for blood lead at both 1 and 2 years of age. A child can be exposed to lead from common household sources such as paint in houses built before 1978, water from lead pipes and fixtures, hobby supplies such as fishing weights and bullets, and an adult’s work clothes. Lead exposure can be prevented with regular handwashing, especially after playing and before meals, a healthy low-fat diet high in calcium and iron, and cleaning floors and windowsills at least twice a week with a damp mop or cloth to remove lead dust.

Today, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet in 2018, more than 300 children in Alabama under the age of 6 were identified with blood lead levels at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter, the reference level at which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends public health actions be initiated.

National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is the time to:

  • Get the facts: Find out about the hazards of lead.
  • Get your child tested: A simple blood test can detect lead. 
  • Get your home tested: Find out how to minimize risks of lead exposure by hiring a certified professional to test older homes for lead.

For more information and resources, go to alabamapublichealth.gov/aclppp/.

County health departments throughout Alabama provide a wide range of confidential and professional services. Contact your local county health department for additional information.

Mission: To promote, protect, and improve Alabama’s health

Vision: Healthy People. Healthy Communities. Healthy Alabama.