Frequently Asked Questions about Lead
- Is lead really still a problem?
Yes. Even though lead- based paint was banned decades ago, it may still be in older homes built before 1978. Peeling, cracking, or chipping paint can create lead dust. Hobbies and jobs still can involve working with lead, and imported or vintage items such as cookware, dishes, toys, and jewelry also can contain high levels of lead, as can certain traditional remedies or cosmetics.
- If I’m buying or renting a home built before 1978, should I ask whether lead testing has been done on the house?
Sellers and landlords must disclose the presence of known lead-based paint and lead-based paint hazards in the home. To learn more, visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s “The Lead Disclosure” page.
- What should I do if I find out my home has lead-based paint?
Make sure no paint is cracking, chipping, or peeling. Get all children in the home tested for lead. For remodeling or renovations, do so safely by using a lead-certified contractor. For more recommendations, be sure to check out the EPA’s How can I tell if my home contains lead-based paint? page.
- What can I do to protect my child from lead?
- Are there foods that can help reduce my child’s lead level?
Food doesn’t remove lead from your child’s body, but foods with calcium and iron can help your child absorb less lead from the environment.
Examples of foods high in calcium are milk, yogurt, cheese, and green leafy vegetables like spinach. Foods high in iron are meats, beans, peanut butter, broccoli, and iron-fortified cereals. Some sources of vitamin C, which helps increase absorption of iron, are citrus fruits (like oranges), red and green peppers, strawberries, and juice.
- What are common sources of lead?
Common sources of lead include paint chips and dust, contaminated soil, drinking water from leaded pipes or dishes, certain jobs or hobbies, and other sources like certain spices, cosmetics, and traditional home remedies. For more specific information about each of these sources, visit our Sources of Lead page.