Some solutions are controversial, some are dangerous and some are extremely simple and natural.  While there is an ongoing debate about whether or not you can “cure” a child once they have been poisoned by lead - there is no debate that preventing lead poisoning in the first place is a fairly simple task and the best option.  It starts with education.  If parents are well informed it is then fairly easy for them to keep the lead dust out of their homes and out of their children.

Once your child has been poisoned there are herbal remedies and chemical solutions for cleaning the lead out of their bodies. There are also dietary changes that you can make that will help but those can be controversial in themselves.


The younger the child, the more quickly their brain will absorb the lead circulating in their blood stream (the brain thinks it is calcium and it deposits lead where calcium should be) and the brain does not let go of this lead easily - so it is very important to catch lead poisoning early and do any clean up (of your home and your child) as quickly as possible. 

If you find out your child has been poisoned I recommend moving out of your home immediately until you have located the source, cleaned it up  - and gotten a clearance test to confirm the cleaning has been effective and the home is safe to live in. Cleaning without a clearance test cannot be guaranteed to protect a child.  The current EPA standard of a “white glove” observational method of  “clearing” a house is inadequate (at best) - and promoting “white-glove” clearance testing actually does more damage than good as it makes consumers think this is an adequate method of determining if a home is safe.  Lead dust is poisonous even when there is so little of it that it is effectively invisible.  One sugar packet worth of lead dust ground super fine and spread evenly across an entire football field is enough to poison the football field to a level that is nearly four times the level that is currently considered unsafe for children (based on the new standards for floor dust recommended by the Center for Healthy Housing of “less than 10 micrograms per square foot”  as the threshold to determine what is safe for a child.) 

The only way to determine a home is safe is to have a clearance test using chemical analysis including dust wipe sampling.

After our children were poisoned, our abatement contractor assured us the home was safe to live in / return to  - but they did not do any sort of clearance testing.  When we found out our children had been re-poisoned (several months later - by follow up blood testing) we moved out (again - this time never to return) and we had clearance testing done (we did not previously understand what this was or know it was an option). 

With this first round of clearance testing* we found out that our floors were still 1,100 parts per square foot in some areas (with the acceptable “cleared” standard at the time being “less than 40” parts per square foot.)  So even though we had been assured the home was safe to live in based on a “white-glove” method / and no dust could be seen - it was still an extremely hazardous environment for young children.

* We ended up doing several subsequent rounds of abatement level cleaning and clearance testing before we got the home back to being a space that was safe for children to live in.

Avi Rubin
in 2006