The Issue:

  • Lead poisoning is one of the most debilitating types of poisons.
  • If not treated early, lead poisoning can cause many severe side effects including growth suppression and brain damage.
  • Although testing of city and well water has been developed, further funding is necessary in order to lessen the incidence of lead poisoning.
  • Lead is absorbed by ingestion, inhalation, and through the placenta during pregnancy.
  • Blood lead levels above 9uL is considered in a toxic range.
  • Healthy People 2010 set a goal to prevent and eliminate lead poisoning and lead related injuries.
    • Three objectives that Healthy People 2010 formulated to help accomplish their goal:
      • (8-11) Eliminate elevated blood lead levels in children.
      • (8-22) Increase the proportion of persons living in pre-1950s housing that has been tested for the presence of lead-based paint to 50% from 16% currently.
      • (20-7) Reduce the number of persons who have elevated blood lead concentrations from work exposures

Where is it found:


  • Lead is found in and around homes and places of work.
  • Lead is found primarily in water sources and homes built prior to 1978.
  • Common sources of lead:
    • drinking water
    • soil
    • paint
    • dust
    • pottery
    • cultural remedies
    • on the job
  • Carrier sources of lead include pets, clothing, and products containing lead.

Who is affected:

  • Everyone can be affected by lead poisoning.
  • Children are more at risk than adults due to size distribution and cleanliness.
  • People with increased risk for lead poisoning:
    • low socioeconomic status
    • low levels of parental education
    • lack of health insurance
    • living in a home built prior to 1978
    • who work with lead at their job
    • farming

What can we do about the Issues and Statistics:

  • Acquire further funding to test at risk populations
  • Work with local governments to locate at risk homes and families
  • Make available water testing to those families drinking well water
  • Community lead education
  • Local area lead poisoning statistics:
    • Roanoke County, Virginia
      • 433.2 / 100,000 children tested
    • Alleghany County, Virginia
      • 59.9 / 100,000 children tested
    • New River Valley
      • 12.2 / 100,000 children tested
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) provides guidelines and recommendations at the state and local level
    • To help monitor lead in water sources and locate hazardous concentrations of lead
    • Maximum level allowed of lead in drinking water in Virginia is an action level of 15.
  • Renovate Homes with Caution 
  • Homes built prior to 1978 may contain lead paint.
  • Adhere to the recommendations regarding appropriate renovation equipment from the National Lead Information Center (NLIC)


  • Test homes for lead paint if it was built prior to 1978
  • Clean homes regularly and keep children out of dusty areas
  • Remove lead containing objects from homes
  • Plant grass over loose soil in yards
  • If a vocation involves handling lead products, (including gardening, home remodeling, and construction) remove clothing prior to entering the household and wash them separately.


  • Lead is measured in:
    • Urine
    • Plasma
    • Household samples (including paint, dust and water)

Additional Facts:

  • Children are exposed to lead primarily through
    • Ingestion
    • Inhalation of dust
  • Lead can be brought in the home from outside soil on pet hair
  • Children pick up anything on the floor and put it in their mouths
  • If not done properly, lead paint removal can cause more damage to your family
  • Water testing for home wells are available through local government

Radford City Water Department:
City of Salem Water Department:
Folk Remedies:
Environmental Protection Agency:
U.S. Department of Labor:
Virginia Department of Health:
Fluoride Health Effects:
Developed by: Jane-Claire Bailey, Susan Dillera, Caleb Hild, and Lauren Torbett

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