Protect kids against exposure to lead

Michigan has begun to see an increase in the percent of children under age 6 with an elevated blood lead level (EBLL) from April through June 2016.

Exposure to lead is higher in warmer months for a variety of reasons, including increased contact with lead dust from inside and outside the home due to exposure from lead painted surfaces such as windows, porches, and siding. Children can also be exposed while playing outside in leaded soil and in rare instances, be exposed to drinking water with lead present.

Tips for reducing and removing lead exposure:

– In housing built before 1978, it can be assumed that the paint has lead unless tests show otherwise.

– Take precautions to limit your child’s access to peeling paint or surfaces with known or assumed lead-based paint.

– Children and pregnant women should take extra precautions during the renovation of housing built before 1978. Homeowners and contractors should be using lead safe work methods such as plastic barriers, HEPA equipped vacuums, plastic to catch paint dust and chips, and daily cleaning.

– A Lead Safe cleaning guide is available at

– Regularly wash children’s hands and toys. Hands and toys can become contaminated from household dust or exterior soil.

– Regularly cleaning by wet-mopping floors and wet-wiping window sills and window wells every two to three weeks.

– Take shoes off outside before entering the house helps to prevent bringing lead-contaminated soil in from outside.

– Until soil is tested, prevent children from playing in bare soil. Plant grass on areas of bare soil or cover the soil with grass seed, mulch, or wood chips.

– Until the bare soil is covered, move play areas away from bare soil and the sides of the house.

– Some other items can include lead coatings such as, pottery, cookware, or tableware that is often used to store or cook food. These items can be tested.

– Check and remove recalled toys and toy jewelry immediately from children.

– Use only cold water from the tap for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula. Hot water is more likely to contain higher levels of lead.

– Shower and change clothes after finishing a task that involves working with lead-based products such as stained glass or lead bullets.