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Lead Poisoning Prevention and Testing

Children are exposed to lead when they touch, swallow, or breathe in lead or lead dust.

Prevent lead poisoning:

  • Wash hands often.
  • Keep shoes outside.
  • Mop and wet wipe.
  • Vacuum with a filter.
  • Wash toys.
  • Eat healthy foods.
  • Buy toys made in the U.S.
  • Renovate safely to cover old paint.
  • Get water and soil tested.
  • Avoid other sources of lead.

Lead can be found throughout a child’s environment Homes built before 1978 (when lead-based paints were banned) probably contain lead-based paint. When the paint peels and cracks, it makes lead dust. Children can be poisoned when they swallow or breathe in lead dust. Certain water pipes may contain lead. Lead can be found in some products such as toys and jewelry. Lead is sometimes in candies imported from other countries or traditional home remedies. Certain jobs and hobbies involve working with lead-based products, like stain glass work, and may cause parents to bring lead into the home.

There are programs to help some families reduce lead in their homes.


Get Your Child Tested

  • All children in Maryland need to be tested for lead at 12 months and 24 months.

    • Lead testing is quick and easy and can be done with a fingerstick (capillary) or vein (venous) blood draw.
    • If your healthcare provider doesn’t test in their office, get a referral from your child’s provider and go to a lab for testing.
    • If you do not have insurance, contact Access Carroll at 410-871-1478.


If Your Child’s Lead Level is High


Additional Resources:

Health Services for Children and Pregnant Women

Environmental Health – Lead

Safe Kids Worldwide – Lead

CDC – Lead Hazards in Toys

CDC – Lead in the Environment

CDC – Five things you can do to lower your child’s lead level

Healthy Children – Lead Exposure, Steps to Protect Your Family

American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) – Lead Exposure in Children

EPA – Protect Your Family From Sources of Lead

MDH – Lead Poisoning Prevention

MDH – Testing for Blood Lead Poisoning

Short videos:
MDH (English/Spanish):


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