Search Button
Divider Home Button

Services menu image

Lead Poisoning: Frequently Asked Questions

What is lead poisoning?
How do children get lead poisoning?
What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
How can you tell if your child has lead poisoning?
Where is testing for blood lead levels available?
What are the health effects of lead poisoning?
Is there a cure for lead poisoning?
Should pregnant women be concerned about lead poisoning?
What can you do to protect your family?
What is the latest information about recalls for products containing lead?
 
What is lead poisoning?
Lead is a metal that can make infants and young children ill. Many of those affected never even look sick. Sometimes children with lead poisoning can have learning disabilities and other health problems. Fortunately, lead poisoning can be detected and it can be prevented.
 
How do children get lead poisoning?
The most common cause of lead poisoning is from the lead paints that were used up until the late 1970’s. Lead can also be in dust, soil, water, food, and in the air. Children can get lead poisoning by:

What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
Although lead poisoning can have many different symptoms, there are often no visible symptoms of elevated blood-lead levels or lead poisoning.

How can you tell if your child has lead poisoning?
The only way to be sure is with a quick and easy blood test. Every child should be tested at ages 9 to 12 months and again at age 24 months. Call your primary care physician or the Health Department's county health centers for lead screening info.
 
Where is testing for blood lead levels available?  
You can get your child tested for lead at any of the Health Department’s county health centers or at your physician’s office, if you have one. Contact the Health Department concerning setting up an appointment and any fees, if applicable. 

What are the health effects of lead poisoning?
Lead can harm virtually every system in the human body. Lead is particularly harmful to the developing brain and nervous system of fetuses and young children.

Lead poisoning can cause numerous effects on the body--the list below gives some examples; however, effects can vary from person to person, and with different lengths of time that a person is exposed to lead in their environment.

Children

Adults

Is there a cure for lead poisoning?
The main treatment for lead poisoning is to stop the exposure. Removing the lead from a person's environment helps to ensure a decline in blood-lead levels. The longer a person is exposed to lead, the greater the likelihood that damage to the person's health will result. In some cases, medications are used to lower blood-lead levels.

Should pregnant women be concerned about lead poisoning?
Lead can be passed from the pregnant woman to the fetus, so women should take steps to ensure that they do not have excessive lead exposure during pregnancy. Specifically, pregnant women should not:

What can you do to protect your family?

What is the latest information about recalls for products containing lead?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention keeps track of the most recent lead recalls, including toys, jewelry and craft products.

More information
Call the Health Department at 859.341.4151.
Kentucky Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
Kentucky Environmental Lead Program
CDC Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
EPA: Lead in Paint, Dust and Soil

Source: Northern Kentucky Health Department, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Environmental Protection Agency