Lead is a heavy metal that has long been used in the manufacture of paint, plumbing pipes and solder, leaded gasoline, and other products. When products containing lead deteriorate, tiny lead particles can contaminate homes and the environment. Regulations now limit the amount of lead used in paint, gasoline, and other applications. However, because lead lasts a long time, environmental lead pollution remains a health hazard.
Lead can cause health problems for people when it is taken into their bodies. At very high levels, it can cause seizures, coma, and even death. While potentially harmful to individuals of all ages, lead exposure is especially harmful to children under six years of age because it affects their developing brains and nervous systems. Ingesting or swallowing lead-contaminated materials is the primary way people get lead poisoning at home. Small children are particularly susceptible because of their constant hand-to-mouth activity. People who work around lead must take special precautions to prevent exposure.
The “Resources” category above provides additional information and helpful links. If you have any questions, contact the environmental health program
The North Carolina Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) currently coordinates clinical and environmental services aimed at eliminating childhood lead poisoning. It also provides technical assistance, training and oversight for local inspectors to assure healthy and safe conditions. Among the program’s activities are early identification, surveillance, abatement enforcement, monitoring inspections and risk assessments.
For information from the CDC on childhood lead poisoning prevention
Public Health Occupational and Environmental Epidemiology is the branch of public health that deals with environmental and occupational conditions and hazards that may pose a risk to human health www.epi.state.nc.us/epi/lead/
This site provides an updated list of current toy recalls www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/category/toy.html
A website provided by the Environmental Protection Agency for information on lead and sources of Lead poisoning www.epa.gov/lead/