Lead Poisoning Hurts Kids For Life


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Lead can do great harm, especially to young children.  Childhood lead poisoning at low levels may make learning difficult, interfere with growth, harm hearing and delay development.  At high levels, lead may cause coma, convulsions and even death.  The leading cause of lead poisoning is lead dust from lead-based paint, which was used in many homes until 1978.  Young children are exposed to lead dust in older homes through normal everyday activities such as crawling on the floor and putting their hands, toys or other objects in their mouths. Lead can also be found in some imported spices, home remedies and cosmetics. 

In addition to lead, other home conditions can contribute to injuries or illnesses.  Respiratory diseases such as asthma have been linked to the presence of tobacco smoke, mold, dust mites and pests or rodents in housing.  Homes with moderate or severe physical problems place residents at increased risk for fire, electrical injuries, falls, rodent bites and other illnesses and injuries.  Exposure to pesticide residues, indoor toxicants, tobacco smoke, radon and carbon monoxide can be harmful for anyone.          

The Pennsylvania Department of Health's Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program is currently comprised of three programs: the Lead and Healthy Homes Program (LHHP), the Lead Hazard Control Program (LHCP) and the Lead Surveillance Program.  In July of 2013, the Department of Health will begin implementation of the Lead and Healthy Homes Program.  The Department of Health provides a toll-free Lead Information Line (1-800-440-LEAD) to respond to caller inquiries and provide written materials about childhood lead poisoning and other household hazards.  In addition, the Department offers training in lead-abatement and other lead-certified disciplines at no cost to governmental and non-profit employees. For a list of current lead inspectors and risk assessors visit the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry website.     


For more information about lead in Pennsylvania, click on the links below: 

Lead Renovation

Currently, lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule is governed in Pennsylvania by EPA.  For a list of certified lead renovators and trainers visit EPAs website. 

Lead Hazard Control Program  

The Lead Hazard Control Program (LHCP) creates lead-safe home environments for low-income families with children under age 6.  This program operates in four cities and two counties in Pennsylvania The LHCP assesses high-risk homes, then makes them lead-safe.  Program recipients must meet certain income and child eligibility requirements.  The LHCP also conducts outreach to prevent lead poisoning and provides skills training for certified abatement contractors.   

Lead Surveillance Program  

The Pennsylvania Department of Health's Lead Surveillance Program tracks and monitors childhood lead activity through the Pennsylvania National Electronic Disease Surveillance System (PA-NEDSS).  PA-NEDSS is a web-based application system that receives all lead reports on Pennsylvania's children.  Through PA-NEDSS, the Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program can identify possible high risk areas, locate areas of under-testing and identify other potential service gaps. 

To find out more about Pennsylvania's continual progress in reducing childhood lead poisoning, please click on any of the reports below.  The reports contain various measures and aggregate totals reflecting childhood lead testing activity statewide.     

Lead and Healthy Homes Program

The Lead and Healthy Homes Program (LHHP) seeks to create safe and healthy housing for vulnerable occupants by addressing environmental health and safety hazards in homes.  When hazards are present in a home, they can have a profound effect upon the health of the occupants, particularly those most vulnerable such as children and seniors.  By identifying and addressing hazards such as mold, pests, lead dust, bare wires, and dust mites, a home can be made much safer and healthier for its occupants.  

 The Pennsylvania Department of Health coordinates efforts to prevent, detect and treat children with elevated blood lead levels. 

Need more information?  

Visit Lead Poisoning and Healthy Homes FAQ or contact the PA Lead Information Line (LIL) at 1-800-440-LEAD (5323) for lead and healthy homes information and materials.

              Contact Information

Bureau of Family Health
Division of Child & Adult Health Services
Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Program
Health and Welfare Building
625 Forster St.
7th Floor, East Wing
Harrisburg, PA 17120-0701


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