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Lead Poisoning

Lead can be very harmful, especially to young children. The most important step parents can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.

  • Childhood lead poisoning at low levels may make learning difficult, interfere with growth, harm hearing and delay development.  
  • Childhood lead poisoning at high levels may cause coma, convulsions and even death.

Lead can be found throughout a child's environment, including:

  • homes built before 1978 that contain lead-based paint
    • peeling and cracking paint makes lead dust that can poison children when they swallow or breathe in the dust
  • certain water pipes
  • some consumer products, such as some toys and jewelry
  • some candies imported from other countries or traditional home remedies
  • certain jobs and hobbies involve working with lead-based products may cause parents to bring lead into the home.

Lead Paint Inspection and Removal


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.

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.

External Resources