Lead Information For Parents

Childhood Lead Poisoning is the most common environmental health problem for children, yet it is entirely preventable. Lead poisoning harms a child's ability to learn and is associated with reduced intelligence and behavioral problems. Once a child has been poisoned, the damage lasts forever. Lead paint in homes built before 1978 continues to be the most common source of lead exposure for children, but there are other lead sources that can poison a child or adult.

Prevention (Go to our Prevention Page) Lead Product Recalls (Go to our Recall Page) 
Child Blood Lead Testing Tenant Rights
Treating Lead Poisoning  Child Nutrition
Pregnancy and Lead
Resources

 

Child Blood Lead Testing in Connecticut

  • In Connecticut every child between ages 9 months and 35 months must be tested for lead poisoning each year.
  • Most medical providers will test children at ages 12 months and 24 months in the office by doing a finger stick or heel stick.
  • This testing is not optional; it is the law.
  • Testing is also recommended for children between 25 -72 months if the child has not been previously tested.
  • Testing is covered by insurance so parents and guardians do not pay for lead testing. 

 

Connecticut’s Regulations on Lead Screening:

  • If a finger or heel stick (capillary) blood test is elevated (equal to or greater than 5 μg/dL), doctors must confirm with a blood draw (venous) lead test.
  • Children with elevated blood lead tests require additional follow‐up blood testing at appropriate intervals. Click here for more information.
  • Children should be tested on a regular schedule until the blood lead level is below 5μg/dL.

 What to do if your child has a blood lead test results of:

  • Less than 4 μg/dL: No lead level is safe for your child. A blood lead level of less than 4 is not considered elevated by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention standards, but it is an indication that your child is somehow being exposed to lead. If you live in a home built before 1978, or if your child spends considerable amount of time at someone else’s older home, monitor your child’s activities inside and outside of the home to make sure he/she is not ingesting dangerous lead paint chips or lead dust. Clean all toys and inside surfaces using wet cleaning methods weekly. Make sure to wash your child's hands often, especially before he/she eats.
  • Between 5 and 14 μg/dLThis blood lead level means that your child has an elevated amount of lead in their blood and is considered above the CDC action level. Additional re-testing must be done with your child's doctor. If you live in a home built before 1978, or if your child spends considerable amount of time at someone else’s older home, monitor your child’s activities inside and outside of the home to make sure he/she is not ingesting dangerous lead paint chips or lead dust. Clean all toys and inside surfaces using wet cleaning methods weekly. Make sure to wash your child's hands often, especially before he/she eats.
  • Between 15 and 19 μg/dL: This blood lead level means that your child has an elevated amount of lead in their blood and is considered above the CDC action level. Additional re-testing must be done with your child's doctor. If your child has had two blood lead tests taken more than 90 days apart with results of 15-19 μg/dL, your town’s local health department must come to your home to complete a lead inspection to find potential lead hazards.
  • 20 or greater μg/dL: This blood lead level means that your child has an elevated amount of lead in their blood and is considered above the CDC action level. Additional re-testing must be done with your child's doctor. For venous test result of 20 μg/dL or greater, your town’s local health department must come to your home to complete a lead inspection to find potential lead hazards.

 Click here to view the re-testing schedule. 

 

Treating Lead Poisoning

The effects of lead poisoning last forever so it is very important to find children most at risk and prevent it. Lead poisoning harms a child's ability to learn and this affects a child's behavior. Although the body will remove the lead over a period of time, if the lead in the home is also reduced, the potential for harm also reduced. Preventing lead poisoning by keeping lead-based paint in good condition and cleaning the home with wet cleaning methods is the key to help lower blood lead levels. Children with very high levels of lead (45 μg/dL or more) in their blood will need to have a doctor use chelation therapy to extract the lead from the child's body and reduce the lead levels. Additionally, early educational intervention may help with the effects of lead poisoning. Click here for more information.

Child Nutrition

Lead tricks the body into thinking it is iron, calcium or zinc. Eating healthy can help prevent lead from being taken in by the body and can help the body remove the lead faster. Make sure your child is given a well-balance diet and don’t let your child go through the day on an empty stomach.

Read the Eating Right Helps Fight Lead Poisoning Fact Sheet for more information.

Pregnancy and Lead

Pregnant women who are lead poisoned can pass on the lead to their unborn baby. These women are also at increased risk for high blood pressure, miscarriage, and low birth weight babies. Their children may suffer from learning and behavior problems. If you have not been tested for lead poisoning, speak to your medical provider.

Regional Lead Treatment Centers

There are two Regional Lead Treatment Centers (LRTC) in Connecticut that specialize in providing guidance and assistance with clinical management of a lead poisoned child. They are located at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford and Yale-New Haven Hospital in New Haven.

  • Contact the Connecticut Children's Medical Center  RLTC at (860) 547-0970, X6864
  • Contact Yale RLTC at (203) 688-2195 (the secretary will transfer to the appropriate contact)

Tenant Rights

If you rent the home you live in, there are things you should know about lead paint and your rights as a renter.

  1. A landlord is not allowed to deny housing to anyone because they have children.
  2. Your landlord must keep the painted surfaces in your apartment in good condition. And s/he must work in a specific safe manner when making updates to the interior and exterior of the home if the house was built before 1978. Learn more here.
  3. By law, your landlord is required to conduct a lead inspection or lead abatement when a child under the age of 6 lives in the residence and has a venous blood lead level of 20 μg/dL or two tests taken greater than 3 months apart with results of 15-19 μg/dL. It is your responsibility to allow your landlord access to your unit for this to occur.
  4. If the local health department orders you to leave your home due to your child having an elevated blood lead level, your town must help you find new housing. If you have questions or concerns, contact your Local Health Department.
To learn more about your rights as a tenant, click on the link and go to the resources under Information from the Connecticut Network for Legal Aid (left side of page, third category down): https://www.jud.ct.gov/lawlib/law/landlord.htm

 

Click the links below for more guidance:

Rights and Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants in Connecticut

Repairs: https://ctlawhelp.org/tenants-rights-repairs-using-housing-code-enforcement-law

Repairs (video): https://ctlawhelp.org/self-help-guides/videos/tenants-rights-repairs

Relocation: https://ctlawhelp.org/have-you-been-ordered-to-move-renters-right-relocation-assistance

Resources

1. Eliminating lead paint dust is one way to go about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Read this brochure to make sure you are taking the proper steps to keep your home safe for your children.

2. Protect Your Family From Lead in Your Home

3. Lead in Drinking Water Factsheet

4. Lead Poisoning Prevention Fact Sheet: