Lead Poisoning Prevention

Lead Free / Roanoke City and Alleghany Health Districts logo / Baby in front of window with hand in mouth.

Lead Poisoning Prevention

Today, childhood lead poisoning is considered the most preventable environmental disease among young children, yet nearly half a million U.S. children have elevated blood-lead levels, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). 

A simple blood test for your child can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime.

  • Get Your Home Tested. Ask for a lead inspection before you buy a home built before 1978. 
  • Get Your Child Tested. Ask your doctor to test your young children for lead even if they seem healthy. 
  • Get the Facts. Learn how to prevent lead poisoning.

Which children should be tested?

The CDC recommends young children to be tested if they fall under one or more of the categories listed below.

  • live or spend time in a house or building built before 1978
  • are from low-income households
  • are immigrants, refugees, or recently adopted from less developed countries
  • live or spend time with someone who works with lead (such as people who work in construction) or who has hobbies that expose them to lead

Children may not exhibit any signs of lead poisoning, yet without treatment, the damage could be permanent. The only way to know if a child has elevated levels of lead is to have them tested by a physician.

Visit the CDC for more information on testing for lead poisoning in children
Testing Children for Lead Poisoning

Call us to make an appointment to talk about resources!

  • Alleghany / Covington /
    Clifton Forge Health Dept:
    (540) 962-2173
  • Botetourt Health Dept:
    (540) 666-4275
  • Craig County Health Dept:
    (540) 864-5136
  • Roanoke City Health Dept:
    (540) 283-5050
  • Roanoke County /
    Salem Health Dept:
    (540) 387-5530
  • Roanoke County /
    Vinton Health Dept:
    (540) 857-7800

RCAHD Case management for lead exposure

When a physician reports a child (normally age 6 or younger) with a high lead level to RCAHD, a environmental health specialist and public health nurse case management team will jointly make visits to the child’s home (and other places the child may spend time, such as day care centers or babysitters) to learn how the exposure may have occurred. 

Since lead-based paint wasn’t banned until 1978, more than 80 percent of homes have lead-based paint. For example, in Roanoke City, 87 percent of homes were built before 1978 and are at risk of having lead based paint. Normally dust wipes and samples from chipping paint, water and/ or soil are collected and sent to a private laboratory for analysis to determine the source of lead in the child’s environment. In addition, the case management team advises the parents of proper diet and cleaning practices to reduce the child’s lead levels.

About lead

Lead is a highly toxic metal that was used for many years in products found in and around our homes. Lead may cause a range of negative health effects, from behavioral problems and learning disabilities, to seizures and death. Children 6 years old and under are most at risk, because their bodies are growing quickly.

Sources of lead