Indiana State Department of Health
2 North Meridian
Suite 700
Indianapolis, IN 46204


Lead poisoning is bad news.
You can get it by eating or breathing lead.

Kids with lead poisoning don't look or act sick, but they may have trouble learning or thinking.

Lead can hurt their brain, stomach, or kidneys.

If a pregnant woman eats or breathes lead, the baby growing inside her also gets it. The baby may be born too soon or too small.

So you need to get rid of lead around your home to stay safe.

These are things that may have a lot of lead:

Here are 8 smart ways to keep lead from hurting your kids.

  1. Clean up dust-it may have lead in it.
    Opening and closing windows and everyday traffic outside kick up lead dust. Breathing lead dust is bad for you.

    Clean up dust with a wet cloth and powder dishwasher detergent.

    Dust also gets on kids' hands--and then into their mouth. Wash your kids' hands, face, mouth, and toys often.

  2. Clean up paint chips and dust on the floor or on windowsills.
    Clean up with a damp mop or clothe and a powder dishwasher detergent.
    Old paint (from before the 1970's) was made with lead.

    Kids sometimes eat paint chips.

    Paint chips taste sweet like candy.

    If you child eats a chip the size of a dime every day, he or she will get very sick.

  3. Keep kids away from peeling paint.
    Put duct tape or electrical tape over places where pint is peeling:

    Put furniture in front of places where paint is peeling. For example, put a chest against a wall where the paint is chipping so kids cannot reach it.

  4. If you work with lead, change clothes and shoes before you come home.
    Lead dust can stick to your clothes, skin and hair and end up in your home.
    Shower and shampoo at work or when you get home.
    Wash work clothes by themselves so lead doesn't get on other clothes.

  5. Don't let kids play in the dirt outside. They can get lead from the soil.
    Make sure your kids play on the grass or in sandy areas way from buildings. It is a better place to play than in the dirt.
    When they come inside, have them leave their shoes at the door.
    Wash their face, hands, and toys after they play outside.

  6. Let the cold water run for 2 minutes before you drink it.
    Tap water from old pipes can have lead in it. Only drink cold water from the tap, not hot. If you need hot water for cooking or baby formula, heat cold water on the stove.

  7. Don't store food in bright, shiny pottery and cans from other countries.
    They may have lead in them that can get into food or drink.

  8. Clean up paint chips outside your home or porches.

Here's what to do to keep kids from being sick:

If you want to know more about staying safe from lead, call this free telephone number from the National Lead Information center Hotline: 1-800-532-3394.