Lead Poisoning Prevention

The Department of Environmental Health’s Consumer Protection Division (CPD) is an integral part of the State’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP).  CPD staff coordinate with the Department of Public Health’s nurses during home environmental investigations to determine the source of lead poisoning for children with high levels of lead in their blood. Additionally, CPD provides outreach and guidance to the public on lead safe work practices, lead hazard reduction, and related issues.

Babies sitting together in a row wearing diapers

Lead poisoning is the most common and preventable environmental disease among California children.  While there is no known safe level of lead to have in the body, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified five micrograms per deciliter (5mcg/dl) as the level of concern. Lead can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, damage to the central nervous system, and at very high levels may cause seizures, coma, and even death.  There is no cure for lead poisoning however, medical treatment can lower the level of lead in the blood.  The best way to address childhood lead poisoning is to prevent exposure. For more information on lead exposure and steps to protect your child from lead around your home, visit Lead Education Materials.

Screening is the only way to know if a child has elevated blood lead levels. Consult with a doctor about getting a blood lead test if you think your child may be at risk of lead exposure. Blood lead tests are free when your child gets a Well Child Check-up if you have Medi-Cal or if you are in the Child Health and Disability Prevention (CHDP) Program. Also, health insurance plans will pay for blood lead testing. For additional information visit County of Santa Clara Public Health Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention.

You can find information on lead safe practices for repainting, remodeling, and abating household lead hazards here.

Little girl smiling at the camera while finger painting

 

Consumer Protection Division’s Role in Addressing Lead Poisoning:

The Consumer Protection Division (CPD) is committed to addressing and eliminating childhood lead poisoning as a public health problem.

The role of CPD in addressing leading poisoning is to:

  • Conduct environmental investigations at the locations where children with very high blood levels live and spend significant time
  • Analyze sources of lead poisoning such as paint, dust, and soil
  • Educate residents, contractors, government agencies, and the public on lead hazards and how lead hazards can be identified and reduced or eliminated
  • Work with homeowners and landlords to ensure that lead hazards are removed from homes where lead poisoned children live
  • Identify and control or eliminate sources of lead exposures
  • Respond to complaints of unsafe lead work (sandblasting, work without proper containment, etc.) at properties built before 1978 that may contain lead paint

 

References

  1. MMWR May 27, 2005 / 54(20);513-516
  2. Koller et al. EHP, Jun 2004
  3. Bellinger, Current Opinions in Pediatrics, 2008, 20:172-177

Additional Resources

Torrent Laboratories                 408-263-5258

SGS Forensic Laboratories     510-887-8828

EMSL Analytical                          510- 895-3675

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