Lead Poisoning Prevention, Testing and Treatment
Childhood Lead Poisoning is the most common environmental health problem for children and it is entirely preventable. Lead poisoning harms a child’s ability to learn and is associated with reduced intelligence and behavioral problems. Once a child has been poisoned by lead, the impairment it may cause is irreversible.
Learn more about lead poisoning, prevention and treatment by reading through the information in the Learning Module.
What is lead?
Lead is a metal that is found in the environment and many consumer products. It can be toxic (poisonous) to people and animals.
Where is lead found?
While lead paint in homes built before 1978 continues to be the most common source of lead exposure, there are many other lead sources. Those sources include:
- Drinking water due to lead pipes
- Imported food, cosmetics, medications
- Soil particularly in urban areas and near homes built prior to 1978
- Consumer products such as imported toys, antique toys and some jewelry
No amount of lead is safe for the body. For more information on these sources, see the CDC link below.
How does lead poisoning occur?
Lead poisoning occurs when lead gets into the body. Lead dust may be inhaled or breathed in or a person may eat or drink something contaminated by lead.
What are the effects of lead poisoning?
Lead poisoning may cause
- Damage to the brain and nervous system
- Slowed growth and development
- Learning and behavior problems
- Health and speech problems
What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
- Loss of appetite
- Feeling tired or irritable
- Stomach pain
- Poor growth
- Joint pain and muscle weakness
- Nausea or vomiting
How is lead poisoning diagnosed?
In Connecticut, children between the ages of 9 months and 35 months must be tested for lead poisoning each year. Most healthcare providers include this simple blood test at the 12 month and 24 month check-up. The test is not optional as it is the law and is covered by insurance, so there is no fee for the parent to pay.
Check out this video to learn why it is important to protect young children from lead exposure and the importance of blood lead testing.
How is lead poisoning treated?
The best approach is prevention! However, if a child is determined to have lead poisoning and the level is high, medication will be used to reduce the amount of lead in the body. The medication may be administered by mouth or by injection depending on the blood lead level and how the child responds to the medicine.
It is important to finish all of the medication to reduce the blood lead level. Chelation medicines draw the lead out of the body through the kidneys and into the urine or pee. It is important for persons who are taking chelation medication to drink plenty of liquids to help get rid of the lead.
See this link for more information about Lead Poisoning and Chelation Therapy. It includes Treatment and Prevention, Tips for Giving Medication, Side Effects of the Medication, Signs of an Allergic Reaction, Good Nutrition, Iron Supplements and Follow-up Care.
Where to get lead testing done in Windsor?
All children are required to be tested for lead poisoning between the ages of 9 months and 35 months. This test is often included at well-child appointments at 12 months and 24 months. Lead testing is required to be covered by insurance.
If your child does not have insurance, call Community Health Services at 860-297-8600. Community Health Services is a Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) and offers free or low-cost care based on individual circumstances.
Avoiding Lead Exposure during Pregnancy
It is very important to avoid lead exposure during pregnancy. It is especially harmful to a developing fetus and can increase the risk of miscarriage, prematurity and low birth weight. Click on the link below to learn more about avoiding lead exposure during pregnancy.
Law – House Bill 5045; Public Act No.22-49
A new law in Connecticut went into effect on 1/1/2023 and lowered the threshold for lead blood levels to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter. Children or adults with a lead blood level of 3.5 or higher will be reported to their Local Health Department for follow-up. This follow-up will include another test to confirm the lead results and if the level is confirmed, additional treatment will be implemented.
For more information about Connecticut Statutes and Regulations, please click the link below:
The Connecticut Department of Public Health has a number of resources on their website and they are grouped in the following categories:
Lead – Learn more about lead, lead poisoning, primary sources, paint, dust, soil, water, Also learn about areas in the home where lead is not likely found – windows, doors, porches, soil. Non-environmental sources you may find like Ayurvedic (folk remedies or medications used in particular ethnic communities) remedies, cosmetics, imported food and spices, jewelry, occupational sources, paint and glazes, fishing and firearms.
Home Owners – This link includes information on older homes, how to safely renovate, repair and paint and the abatement process. You will find additional resources for homeowners as well.
Paint – Don’t Spread Lead: A guide to lead-safe painting, repair and home improvement for do-it-yourselfers – You Tube Clip includes Spanish translation.
Parents – Click this link to learn more about blood lead testing regulations, blood lead test results and recommendations to reduce lead in blood. This link includes a CT DPH Fact Sheet – Eating Right Helps Fight Lead Poisoning. Lead Poisoning Prevention Fact Sheets in multiple languages are also included on this site.
Landlords – This link includes important information for landlords and includes inspections and abatement steps and post-abatement activities. This site also includes HUD-Housing requirements. You will find a list of licensed abatement contractors and licensed lead consultants.
Professionals – On this link you will find information lead abatement and lead consultant professionals. Regulations, responsibilities and rules as well as necessary certifications and trainings are listed.
Child Care Providers – This link provide information for Family Child Care Homes, Group Child Care Homes and Child Care Centers to protect children from lead paint hazards.
Medical Providers – The new requirements and guidance fact sheets are included on this website. You will find the Lead Poisoning Prevention Fact Sheets translated in eleven different languages.
Real Estate Disclosures – You will find Real Estate Notification and Disclosure, and Pre-Renovation Information Rules on this website. You will also find the EPA/HUD disclosure booklet here.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)
Connecticut Department of Public Health (CT DPH)
Helping Hands, Nationwide Children’s Hospital, Columbus, OH
LEAD Poisoning – Poster 5 Things you can do to help lower your child’s lead level
Nemours Children’s Health, Nemours Foundation, Jacksonville, FL