What causes lead poisoning?
Lead can be present in the soil, water, paint, foods, pottery, cosmetics and other items. It is odorless and invisible to the naked eye. Most children are exposed to lead through contact with chipped paint in older homes, but there are many other causes of lead poisoning.
There is no safe level of lead in a child. Lead exposure can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, speech and developmental delays, and learning and behavioral problems.
Who should be tested for lead poisoning?
New Jersey Administrative Code requires all children be screened for elevated blood lead levels at the ages of one and two. Children age six and under should also be tested if they have never been screened in the past or if they are at high risk for exposure to lead.
What happens if my child has an elevated blood lead level?
If a child is reported to have a blood lead level greater than or equal to 5 µg/dl, the Health Department will send a public health nurse to the home to assist with education and to ensure that the child receives appropriate medical attention. If needed, certified inspectors will perform a health and environmental risk assessment to identify the cause of poisoning. Once identified, the Health Department has the authority to require abatement of the lead hazard to protect the child from further exposure.
For more information and to obtain a list of state-licensed abatement contractors, you may visit the following websites:
- Community Affairs and Resource Center (CARC) Lead-Safe Home Remediation Program
- Lead Evaluation Contractors (PDF)
- Lead Abatement Contractors (PDF)
How do I get my child tested for elevated blood lead levels?
Blood lead testing usually happens as part of your child’s normal well visits with their pediatrician. Talk to your child’s doctor to inquire about testing. You can also call us at the Health Department and we can help connect you to testing resources.
If you are a community-based organization who is interested in hosting a blood lead testing event, please contact us at 732-294-2089.