There is no safe blood lead level in children. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body but specifically, exposure to lead can cause serious harm to a child’s brain and nervous system and to their overall growth and development. This can result in poor performance at school and behavior problems both at home and school.
The primary source of lead exposure for children is in the home. Although lead-based paint was banned in the United States in 1978, the walls of some older homes and apartments are still covered with lead-based paint; many in low-income communities. An estimated 24 million homes in the U.S. contain deteriorated lead-based paint or lead-contaminated house dust. Young children are residing in 4 million of these homes.
By tracking the locations within Montgomery County with a high percentage of older homes, targeted childhood lead poisoning prevention messages can be developed. Children living in these areas should be tested more frequently for lead exposure. A focused investigation of possible sources of lead exposure can be completed when tracking where children with elevated blood lead levels live.