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Learn the risks and learn how we can make our kids lead-free

Lead exposure is unhealthy at any level. Pregnant women and children under 6 are most at risk of long-term health problems from lead exposure. The good news is that there are straightforward steps we can take to get lead out of our homes.

Find Your Risk Level

Lead is still affecting kids in North Carolina. Click here to see where children are most likely to be exposed.

Why Lead Is Bad

Who is at risk for lead exposure?

Lead exposure is unhealthy for everyone. Pregnant women and children ages zero to 6 are at greatest risk of long-term health problems. Babies and toddlers who crawl on the floor and then put their hands in their mouths are exposed to the highest lead levels.

Lead is most often found in neighborhoods with older housing, where old paint is exposed and lead pipes are still in use. When old paint is flaking off or in poor condition, lead gets into the house dust and everyone is exposed – especially young children.

Children of color, children in low-income families and immigrant families are more likely to be exposed to lead. Cleaning up sources of lead is critical to protecting all children’s healthy development.

Why Is Lead Harmful?

Lead is a toxic metal that comes from the ground. It can be found polluting air, water and food, as well as in everyday items like toys, spices, cosmetics and pottery. You can’t see, smell or taste lead.

There is no safe level of lead exposure.

Even at the lowest levels of exposure, lead can harm children’s ability to concentrate and focus in school. It even reduces intelligence. Lead exposure damages attention and impulse control and can increase aggression. The effects of lead on the brain are permanent and can affect a child’s long-term development.

What can we do about it?

Ending childhood lead exposure is an important way to protect children’s healthy development. In North Carolina, public health officials have been working for more than 30 years to eliminate childhood lead poisoning – and have come very close to doing so.

Ensuring that homes, child care centers, and schools are lead-free is the most effective way to decrease a child’s risk. 

The good news is that timely action can protect kids from being exposed to lead. Together we can end childhood lead poisoning once and for all.

Are you worried about your family's risk to lead?