Lead can do great harm, especially to young children. Childhood lead poisoning at low levels may
make learning difficult, interfere with growth, harm hearing and delay
development. At high levels, lead may
cause coma, convulsions and even death. The leading cause of lead poisoning is
lead dust from lead-based paint which was used in many homes until 1978. Young children are exposed to lead dust in
older homes through normal everyday activities such as crawling on the floor
and putting their hands, toys or other objects in their mouths. Lead can also be found in bare soil, some
imported spices, home remedies and cosmetics.
To learn more about lead poisoning, refer to the Bureau
of Epidemiology’s helpful fact sheet on lead.
In addition to lead, other home conditions can contribute to
injuries or illnesses. Lung diseases
such as asthma have been linked to the presence of:
Homes with moderate or severe physical problems place residents
at increased risk for:
Exposure to pesticides, toxins,
radon and carbon monoxide are also harmful for residents.
Need more information?
The Department of Health provides a toll-free Lead Information Line(1-800-440-LEAD) to respond to caller questions and provide electronic
materials about lead poisoning and other environmental hazards.
Lead Surveillance Program
The Pennsylvania Department of Health's Lead Surveillance
Program tracks and monitors childhood lead activity through the Pennsylvania
National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (PA-NEDSS). PA-NEDSS is a web-based application system
that receives all lead reports on Pennsylvania's children. Through PA-NEDSS, the Division of Child and
Adult Health Services can identify possible high-risk areas, locate areas of
under-testing and identify other potential service gaps.
To find out more about Pennsylvania's continual progress in
reducing childhood lead poisoning, please click on any of the reports below.
The reports contain data tables and explanations related to childhood lead
testing activity statewide.
EPA Lead Program
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) funds a state
program to support lead paint removal activities in PA for the purpose of
preventing children from becoming lead poisoned.
Safe and Healthy Homes Program
The Safe and Healthy Homes Program (SHHP) seeks to provide education and interventions to promote healthy homes and prevent problems and injuries. When hazards are present in a home, they can
have a profound effect upon the health of the residents, particularly those
most vulnerable such as children. By identifying and addressing hazards such as
mold, pests, lead dust, bare wires and dust mites, a home can be made much
safer and healthier for its residents.
Any contractor doing renovation in PA homes older than 1978 must
be a Certified Renovator. The purpose of
lead-safe renovation is to assure that new lead hazards are not created during
the work. The EPA enforces the Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule in
Pennsylvania. For a searchable list of Certified Renovators visit the EPA website.
Lead Paint Inspection and Removal
Bureau of Family Health
Division of Child & Adult Health Services
Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster St.
Seventh Floor, East Wing
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701