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What is Lead?

lead paint on door

Lead is metal that is highly toxic when taken into the body through breathing, eating or drinking. Lead was commonly used in paint until it was banned for residential use in 1978. As old lead-based paint flakes, chips, or turns to dust, lead can contaminate surfaces throughout your home.

Lead is especially dangerous to children under six years old because their growing bodies absorb more lead than adults do, and their brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to its damaging effects. Young children can become lead poisoned by breathing in lead dust or putting contaminated objects like toys and paint chips in their mouth.

According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, lead poisoning is the primary environmental hazard faced by children in Texas today. Children from all social and economic levels can be affected by lead poisoning, although children living in poverty and who live in older housing are at greatest risk.

Source: Texas Department of State Health Services, “Toward a Lead-Safe Texas: Texas Strategic plan to Eliminate Child Poisoning by 2010,” March 2007.


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