Lead exposures continue to be a concern in many areas of the United States and the world. Lead in the body of a child can lead to learning, memory, attention and behavioral problems, decreased IQ, anemia, and stomach problems. Taking steps to reduce your contact with lead can greatly improve health outcomes for your family.

Sources of lead

The most common sources of lead exposure are from soil, water, and lead paint. Homes in the United States that were built before 1978 are more likely to contain lead hazards. You can look up the inspection history of a home in Massachusetts at Mass.gov's Lead Safe Homes Search.

Other sources of lead include traditional and folk medicines; imported pottery, jewelry, spices, and cosmetics; fishing sinkers; bullets; antiques; and more.

Myths busted

Lead exposure is:

  • NOT a problem of the past. It is estimated that over 500,000 children in the United States have raised blood lead levels.
  • NOT only from eating lead-based paint chips. Soil, pipes, spices, and more can also be sources of lead.
  • NOT risk-free. There are no safe blood lead levels. Adverse affects in both children and adults are associated with increasing levels of lead.

Learn more

State-specific information about lead can be found on state department of public health websites.