Lead poisoning is a serious but preventable health problem. Lead is a highly toxic metal that has been commonly used in many household, industrial and automobile products—such as paint, solder, batteries, brass, car radiators, bullets, pottery, etc. Too much lead in the body, or lead poisoning, can cause serious and permanent health problems. Children and pregnant women are at special risk.

The major source of lead poisoning in Vermont children is lead dust from chipping or peeling lead-based paint, but there are many other lead hazards. Lead poisoning can be prevented when you know what danger signs and hazards to look for in your home or in other places.

Lead can get into drinking water from old lead pipes, plumbing fixtures or solder. Always run the water until it is as cold as it can get to use for cooking, drinking and making baby formula. Consider replacing lead pipes or old plumbing fixtures.

Adults who work jobs that involve lead—such as painting, plumbing, metal production, building renovation, demolition, bridge work or manufacturing—are at risk of lead poisoning. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)(link is external) and Vermont OSHA(link is external) have more information on occupational exposure to lead. Workers can also bring lead home on shoes and work clothes, which places family members at risk of coming in contact with lead.