The United States banned the use of lead-based paint in houses, hospitals, schools, parks, playgrounds, daycares, and public buildings in 1978. Today about 64 million U.S. homes may contain lead-based paint. Lead is a highly toxic metal that may cause a range of health problems, especially in young children. When lead is absorbed into the body, it can cause damage to the brain and other vital organs, like the kidneys, nerves and blood. Lead may also cause behavioral problems, learning disabilities, seizures and in extreme cases, death. Children and pregnant women are at highest risk for lead poisoning. Some symptoms of lead poisoning may include headaches, stomachaches, nausea, tiredness and irritability. Children who are lead poisoned may show no symptoms. Both inside and outside the home, deteriorated lead-paint mixes with household dust and soil may be tracked into the home. Some examples how children and family members may become lead poisoned by:
- Putting their hands or other lead-contaminated objects into their mouths,
- Home renovation and repairs,
- Toys with lead paint,
- Deteriorating lead-based paint
- Eating paint chips found in homes with peeling or flaking lead-based paint, or
- Playing in lead-contaminated soil.