Children in at least 4 million U.S. homes are currently being exposed to high levels of lead. Exposure to lead can cause lifelong negative health effects in children, including brain damage and developmental delays.

It’s very difficult to avoid every lead exposure because the chemical is used in so many things. We need policymakers to adopt policies to reduce kids’ exposure to lead and address disparities in lead exposures. We also need companies to stop using lead in their products.

But until the laws are changed and disparities are addressed, here are a few tips that can help you reduce your family’s exposure to lead.

1. Talk to your doctor about testing your child’s blood lead level.

2. Keep children away from peeling or chipping paint in buildings built before 1978. Cover peeling or chipping paint with contact paper or duct tape until it is safely removed.

3. If you rent your home and it was built before 1978 and has peeling or chipping paint consider talking to your landlord about it. When your home is remodeled, repainted, or repaired, be sure it is done safely and according to EPA guidelines.

4. Damp dust and vacuum your home often. Vacuum with a HEPA filter if possible.

5. Wash your and your children’s hands regularly.

6. Take your shoes off when you come inside your home.

7. Run tap water until it is as cold as it will get before cooking, drinking, or making baby formula.

8. Eat a balanced, healthy diet that includes a variety of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, protein foods and dairy products. A good resource is this guide.

9. Find out if you live in an area where soils are contaminated with lead through King County Dirt Alert

10. Wash soil off your hands after gardening or playing outside and consider setting up play areas that don’t have exposed soil for your children.

11. If you are exposed to lead at work or through your art or hobbies, wear the proper protective equipment, and change clothes and wash up before coming home. Follow our other tips for art supplies.

12. Wash children’s toys and pacifiers often and give children only toys and art supplies made for their age group.

13. Use caution before using products from outside the US such as folk remedies, candy, spices, cosmetics, or ceramic dishware. These products may contain lead; consider avoiding their use.

14. Avoid products recalled by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) because of lead. These recalls can be found here.

National Resources

Washington State Resources

Local Resources