While lead poisoning is a health issue that can affect persons of any age,
young children are most at risk.
The Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention estimates that at least 4 million households in the U.S. have
children living in them at risk of exposure to toxic lead. Nearly half a
million U.S. children ages 5 and younger have blood lead levels above five micrograms per deciliter, the reference level at which CDC recommends public health actions be initiated.
Nationally, the most common way that children become exposed to lead is by
breathing or swallowing dust or chips of lead-based paint, which is often
found in and around housing or child-care facilities built prior to 1978,
when lead-based residential paints were banned in the U.S.
Lead poisoning can adversely affect nearly every system of the body, but
particularly the central nervous system, especially for unborn and young
children whose bodies are just beginning to develop and grow. Because lead
poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes
unrecognized. However, lead poisoning is easily diagnosed with simple
For more facts about lead from EPA, visit: http://www2.epa.gov/lead