Lead is a toxic metal that can get into the body when it is swallowed or breathed. Once in the body, lead can have serious effects, especially among children six years old and younger. To prevent exposure, it is important that lead sources are identified and removed before children begin crawling. The primary source of lead poisoning is from lead-based paint used in homes built before 1978. Other sources of lead include drinking water, soil, occupations and hobbies, pottery, folk remedies, toys, and cosmetics.
Children with lead poisoning may suffer from hyperactivity, aggressive behavior, learning disabilities, lowered IQ, speech delay and hearing impairment. Adults with lead poisoning may suffer from health and reproductive problems.
The good news is that lead poisoning is preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned by lead. If you suspect your child may be exposed to any lead sources, talk to your doctor about a blood lead test. The Idaho Medicaid program and most health insurance plans cover lead testing. For more information about lead, please call the NationalLeadInformationCenter at 1-800-424-LEAD or see the Lead Factsheet