Lead poisoning hurts many parts of the body but it is especially dangerous to children’s developing brains.

A child with lead poisoning can have learning and behavioral problems. The most common way that children get lead poisoned is through lead dust in the home. Tiny particles of lead from old lead paint become part of house dust. The lead dust gets on children’s hands, toys and other items. Other common ways are where infants and toddler’s cribs or beds are next to windows and window sills that have decades and decades of old, lead-based paint and the children ingest the loose and flaking paint chips. Children 6 years and younger are most at risk, because their bodies are still developing and because they often put things into their mouths.

It is very important to know that most children with lead poisoning do not act or look sick. A lead test is the only way to know if your child has been poisoned by lead. Ask your doctor or health provider to test your child.

Lead-Based Paint Was Common Prior to 1978

Lead-based paint in housing built prior to 1978 is a major source of lead exposure. The older the home, the more likely that there are high levels of lead in the paint. Chipping paint, flaking paint, or paint that is being scraped, sanded, or disturbed during remodeling or repairing can create lead dust. Lead-based paint is of a particular concern in Orange County, where more than 70% of the housing was built before 1978.

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