Who is at risk for lead exposure?

People who live in homes built before 1978, especially children. 

  • Children are most at risk because they:
    • Eat and drink more based on their body size when compared to adults.
    • Breathe at faster rates when compared to adults.
    • Absorb 4-5 times more of the lead they swallow than adults.
    • May be missing key nutrients in their body, such as calcium and iron – so their body mistakenly keeps lead in place of healthy nutrients.
    • Often put their hands in their mouths.
    • Sometimes chew on toys and other household objects and furniture that may contain lead.
  • Fetuses and nursing babies are also at risk because:
    • Lead can pass through the placenta to the fetus when the mother is exposed.
    • Lead can pass through breast milk to a nursing baby when the mother is exposed.
      • Note, the benefits of breastfeeding are usually greater than these risks, though.
      • Talk to your healthcare provider to determine what is best for you and your baby.

People with pica.

  • People with pica are most at risk because:
    • Pica is the craving to eat nonfood items, such as dirt, paint chips, and clay.
    • It’s most common in 1- and 2-year old children and usually goes away as they get older.
    • Pica has also been observed in adults, especially pregnant women.
    • Pica is sometimes a result of a nutritional shortage, such as iron-deficiency anemia.​

People who have jobs working with lead.

  • People who work with lead could track it home if proper measures are not taken to stop that from happening.
  • Your employer should inform you if lead is in use at your workplace. 
  • Visit Jobs and Hobbies to learn more.

People with hobbies that use lead.

  • Common hobbies that may use lead include stained glass making, hunting, and fishing.
  • Visit Jobs and Hobbies to learn more.

People who get their drinking water from a public water supply that has an Action Level Exceedance according to the State's Lead and Copper Rule​.