Skip Navigation LinksPennsylvania Department of Health > My Health > Infant and Children > Lead Poisoning



  Lead Poisoning Hurts Kids For Life

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
·         Tobacco smoke
·         Mold
·         Dust mites
·         Pests
Homes with moderate or severe physical problems place residents at increased risk for
·         Burns
·         Electrocution
·         Falls
·         Rodent bites
·         Lung cancer
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.
Lead and Healthy Homes Program
The Lead and Healthy Homes Program (LHHP) seeks to create safe and healthy housing for vulnerable residents by addressing environmental health and safety hazards in homes.  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 and older adults.  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.
Lead-Safe Renovation
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
For a list of certified lead professionals visit the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website .


Contact Us
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