Reducing your child’s risk of lead exposure is important—and should begin before your baby even comes home from the hospital. This is especially true if you live in a home that was built before 1978, when the manufacture of lead-based paint was banned.
Lead is commonly found in houses built before 1960. These older homes are more likely to have lead particles present, which can expose your newborn to toxic lead.
Here are some simple tips you should take before bringing your baby home (or ideally, before you get pregnant!)
- Have your older home inspected by a qualified professional service to determine if you have lead-based paint.
- If you have lead-based paint, hire a professional company to remove all lead-contaminated paint.
- Have your water tested for lead, especially if you live in an older home, which may have lead in the plumbing or fixtures. If you have questions, you can call the Environmental Protection Agency Safe Drinking Water Hotline or your county health office for local referrals.
- If you’re remodeling or redoing your baby’s nursery, make sure you test for lead contamination. Removing old paint is a major source of lead contamination.
- Be aware that old toys may contain lead, so be extra cautious about exposing your newborn to older toys and gifts, no matter how nostalgic they may be.
- Thoroughly clean all surfaces. Lead can be tracked in from the outside on contaminated soil, especially in areas or regions that have industries that use lead.
After your baby is born, your child will be regularly screened for possible lead exposure and may have blood tests to determine their lead blood level. It’s important to keep all your doctor’s appointments.
Reviewed by Dr. Sara Connolly, May 2020
- Preparing your home should begin your baby comes home.
- Older homes should be tested for lead-based paint.
- You can have your water tested for lead.
- Make sure all surfaces are clean.
- If you’re renovating, test for lead-based paint.