Lead paint

Exposure to lead paint (lead-based paint), which was widely used in many homes and apartments before 1978, can damage the body's organ systems, especially the brain, nervous system, kidneys, and blood.

Small children often like to chew on objects with lead paint. When crushed or broken down, lead paint may contaminate dust and dirt in the surroundings. Children who live and play in these areas may absorb or ingest lead in harmful amounts, increasing their risk for learning disabilities, behavior disorders, slowed growth, and impaired hearing. Some toys and jewelry made in other countries have been found to contain lead paint.

In adults, lead poisoning can cause serious health problems, including high blood pressure and damage to the brain, nervous system, stomach, and kidneys.

A blood test can measure the amount of lead in the blood. This test can be done for people who are concerned about their exposure to lead or who show signs of lead poisoning.

Last Updated: June 26, 2008

Author: Debby Golonka, MPH

Medical Review: Michael J. Sexton, MD - Pediatrics & R. Steven Tharratt, MD, MPVM, FACP, FCCP - Pulmonology, Critical Care, Medical Toxicology

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.