There are many causes of lead poisoning - but most of the paths of inquiry lead to two primary source
s: lead from dust caused by house paint and lead from soil that has been contaminated as a result of lead used as an additive to gasoline.

While toys are a concern - especially if they are painted or made of materials with a high lead content (like charms, metal jewelry, & crystals), most cases of childhood lead poisoning are caused by contaminated soil and house dust. In the United States lead in water sources (pipes and fixtures) is a third significant source of concern. There is no way to know if these elements in your life are contaminated unless you have them tested.  You cannot see lead dust.

With the recent spike in house-flipping and house renovation - soil can also appear to be clean but is in fact significantly contaminated by the dust caused by renovation (as in our case where the removal of paint on our 1917 home caused the soil to become significantly contaminated.)  Even if your home has not been renovated, your neighbor’s renovation may have contaminated your soil enough to poison your child.

Your best bet: 


© 2009. Tamara Rubin,  All Rights Reserved

If you are a homeowner  - have your home and soil assessed for hazards (preferably before you move in or before you have children.)  A full home hazard assessment inspection is usually in the $500 to $1,000 range depending on the size of the home and well worth it in terms of the amount of money it will save (in guiding your choices to keep your home and children lead-free.) 

If you are renter with children - make sure your landlord has:

Don’t rent a pre-1978 home if your landlord is not aware of their responsibilities when it comes to keeping it safe for children.  These landlords should also give you a disclosure form to sign (before you commit to the lease) that states they are aware they are renting a home to you that could have lead-hazards and they have taken care of any hazards. (Your best bet - rent newer construction!)

  1. 1.done an inspection,

  2. 2.made any appropriate repairs and,

  3. 3.had a clearance test of the home (if it is a pre-1978 home) to ensure that it is safe for children to live in.