Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

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Table of Contents

Program Description

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The Solano County Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) is a state funded, county administered program established for the prevention, education, screening, diagnosis, and case management of lead poisoning in children and young adults. The program has a multidisciplinary staff composed of a public health nurse, senior health educator, senior registered environmental health specialist (REHS), and senior hazardous materials specialist. Through this coordinated effort, the program provides case management, environmental surveillance, home visiting, education and outreach for the residents of Solano County.


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Solano County children and young adults form birth up to 21 years old with an elevated lead level test result (≥ 4.5 micrograms per deciliter (mcg/dL).

Information for Providers

The CLPPP Coordinator provides ongoing coordination between the medical provider and the local public health team that is essential for effective follow-up of lead exposed children and young adults. If a patient has a blood lead level result of 4.5 mcg/dL or higher, contact the CLPPP Coordinator directly with patient information to expedite services to the child and their family. Test results are also received from the state Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch as well.

Provider Guidelines

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Did You Know?

California is making efforts to keep drinking water lead-free. According to the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch (CLPPB), in California, most tap water from public water systems used for drinking are not contaminated with lead. Yet, the public water utilities in California are changing water service lines that have lead over a 10-year period. Water service lines are the pipes and fittings that bring drinking water from the water main to the house's water meter. Water utilities are not responsible for changing privately owned service lines or private wells, so this water should be tested if used for drinking. For more information about testing water, visit the Environmental Protection Agency at: or call 800-426-4791.

To learn more about water service line replacements, visit the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch.

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Information for Families

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What is lead?

Lead is a toxic metal that can harm the brain, kidneys, and other organs, especially in a child. Even a small amount of lead in a child's body can affect their development, making it hard for them to learn, pay attention, and behave. A pregnant woman can pass lead to her unborn child. The baby can be born too small or too early. If a pregnant woman's lead level is very high, there is a higher chance of a miscarriage.

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Lead in Paint

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Why is lead in paint?

Lead was used to make paint last longer. In 1978, lead was banned in house paint. If your home was built before 1978, there may be lead in the paint. Lead-based paint is still one of the most common sources of lead poisoning in children.

How does lead get from the paint into my child?

Lead gets into your body and into your child's body by:

  • eating or breathing dust that is contaminated by lead, including lead from paint
  • chewing surfaces such as windowsills painted with leaded paint or eating lead paint chips
  • eating soil contaminated by lead from paint from former leaded gasoline emissions or from industrial air emissions
  • eating lead contaminated fruits and vegetables that were not thoroughly washed or that absorbed lead from the soil
  • eating food off dishes made with lead or food stored in leaded dishware (such as crystal, some imported pottery, and some ceramic dishes)
  • placing items in your mouth that are contaminated with lead (some toys, jewelry, keys, etc.)
  • drinking tap water that has lead in it (some homes may have leaded pipes or fixtures that may leach into the water)

What do I do if my home has been painted with lead-based paint?

There are many dangers when removing lead paint from your home. Every member of your family can be poisoned if removal is not done right. Information about lead safe work practices and lead certification may be found in the pamphlet Repainting or Fixing Up Your Older Home?. For more detail information about lead-safe work practices, read Steps to Lead Safe Renovation, Repair and Repainting.

If you have concerns regarding lead hazards in your home, please contact Solano County at [email protected] for more information and eligibility criteria for Solano County's free lead-based paint abatement program.

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Lead in Soil

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Why is lead in soil?

Almost all of the lead in soil comes from lead-based paint chips flaking from homes (built before 1978), factory pollution, and the past use of leaded gasoline. Over time, lead builds up in soil. Lead levels in soil are usually higher in cities, alongside roadways, near industries that use lead, and next to older homes where crumbling lead paint has fallen into the soil, and lead dust has washed off from the roof.

How does lead get from the soil into my child?

Lead gets into your body and into your child's body by:

  • eating soil contaminated by lead from paint from former leaded gasoline emissions or from industrial air emissions
  • eating lead contaminated fruits and vegetables that were not thoroughly washed or that absorbed lead from the soil

Can I protect my child from lead in soil?

Lead in soil does not pass-through unbroken skin. If bare soil is covered with plants, rocks or other ground cover, children have less contact with the dirt and the lead in it.

If the amount of lead in your soil is too high, and if the soil is not covered with plants, grass, or thick ground cover, then you should consider one or more of the following suggestions to make your soil safer:

  • Prevent nearby sources of lead from further contaminating the soil, for example, control peeling house paint
  • Plant and maintain grass or other thick ground cover
  • Cover the soil with a thick layer of gravel, wood chips, or other appropriate materials
  • Pave the area
  • Use a planter's box to grow fruits and vegetables in uncontaminated soil, or
  • If you do not have any other choices, remove the top 3 to 6 inches of soil and replace it with uncontaminated soil

To Protect Your Family from Lead Sources, visit:

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Lead in Home Remedies

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Home remedies and traditional medicines are used around the world and are thought to help some health problems. However, some of these home remedies have lead and may make you very sick. You cannot tell by looking at or tasting a remedy if it has lead in it. Imported cosmetics may also have lead. For more information, visit:

What can I do if I have taken or have given my child a home remedy that has lead?

Call your doctor, clinic, or local health department for more information. You can reach the health department at 707-784-8070. Medical information is confidential. Your health is the main concern. You can also call the California Poison Control System at 1-800-222-1222 or visit their website at for more information. They are available 24 hours/day, 7 days/week, and 365 days a year to answer your questions and help in an emergency. Language interpreters are available.

ceramic jars

Lead in Imported Ceramics

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What should I look for?

Lead may be in the paint or glaze of a ceramic dish. Warning signs that lead may be more likely to be present are:

  1. Color

Colorful ceramics painted red, orange, yellow, green, light blue or black may have lead, but white ceramics can have lead too

  1. Rough or raised surface

Ceramic dishes that have lead often feel rough and chalky or have raised surfaces, but even dishes with smooth and shiny surfaces may have lead. Dishes that are deteriorated, worn, cracked, chipped. Old/antique dishes may have lead

  1. Dishes that are deteriorated, worn, cracked, chipped, old/antique may have lead

What can I do to prevent lead poisoning?

The only way to be sure that your ceramics do not have lead is to test them at a laboratory. Many hardware stores and some pharmacies sell lead-testing kits, but these kits will not tell you how much lead is in the dish or if there is lead under the surface of the dish (these kits only test the surface of the dish). So, a negative result does not mean the dish is free of lead.

Do not use any ceramic dishes that you know have lead on the inside or outside.

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Testing your Child for Lead Poisoning

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How do I know if my child is lead poisoned?

Any person can become lead poisoned, but children younger than 6 years old are at higher risk. Most children who have lead poisoning do not look or act sick. The only way to know if your child has lead poisoning is to have your doctor give your child a blood test for lead.

When should my child get tested for lead poisoning?

At risk children should be tested at 1 and 2 years old for lead poisoning. Also, children should be tested if they are between the ages of 1 and 6 years and have not been tested for lead before. A blood lead test can be requested at any age if there is a concern about lead poisoning.

Can my child get a free blood test for lead poisoning?

If your child has Medi-Cal, the blood test for lead is free when your child gets a check-up. Other health insurance plans also may pay for this blood test.

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Food Tips to help Protect your child from Lead Poisoning - Ages 1 to 6 Years Old

A child with a diet low in calcium and iron may absorb more lead. Healthy meals and snacks can help protect your child. It's harder for lead to get into your child's blood when your child eats:

Protein (seafood, lean meat, poultry, eggs, beans, peas, soy products, and unsalted nuts and seeds)

Vegetables (fresh, frozen, or canned vegetables; serve a variety of colors, like dark green, red, orange, yellow and purple)

Fruits (fresh, frozen, or canned fruits; limit 100% juice without added sugar)

Grains (whole grains, whole wheat bread, oatmeal, popcorn, quinoa, brown or wild rice)

Dairy (low-fat dairy, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, soymilk, or nut milks without added sugars)

Limited foods with added sugars (candy, granola bars, soda sugary breakfast cereals and sweet treats) and added fats (fried foods, fast foods, chips, pork rinds)

Remember: younger children need smaller serving sizes and should eat healthy meals and snacks at least every 3-4 hours.

To help your child keep a healthy weight, serve healthy snacks such veggie sticks, with salsa or hummus, sliced fruit, or plain, low-fat yogurt.

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Don't Take Lead Home from your Job

Can lead at work harm my child?

Yes, your child can get lead poisoned if anyone who lives in your home and works with lead. Some jobs involve working with materials that produce lead dust or fumes. You may not see the lead dust or fumes, but it can get on your hands, face, and clothes. You take lead dust from your job to your family when you wear your work clothes and shoes home. Lead dust can get in your car. It can get on furniture, floors, and carpets. Your child can swallow this lead dust and become poisoned.

How do adults get lead poisoned?

Lead gets into your body by breathing or swallowing lead dust or fumes. Lead dust can get on you hands, face, or food.

  • Wash your hands and face with soap and water before eating or drinking.
  • Do not eat, drink, or smoke in your work area. Go to clean areas for lunch and breaks.
  • Before leaving work, wash your hands and face with soap and water. Change into clean clothes and shoes before you get into your car to go home. Put dirty work clothes and shoes in a plastic bag or leave them in your locker at work.
  • Take a shower and wash your hair as soon as you get home. (It is better to shower at work if you can).
  • Wash work clothes separately from all other clothes. Empty your work clothes from the plastic bag directly into the washing machine and wash them. Run the empty washing machine again to rinse out the lead.

For information on lead at work, contact the California Department of Public Health, Occupational Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch at 1-510-620-5757.

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Simple Ways to Protect your Child from Lead Poisoning

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Keep your home as clean and free from dust as possible.

The best way to clean up dust that may have lead is to regularly wet mop your floors, wet wipe window ledges, and wash all surfaces with water and household detergent.

Take off your shoes before entering the house.

Or make sure shoes are wiped well on a doormat outside the house. This will help prevent lead dust and soil from getting into the house.

Change out of work clothes as soon as you can

If you work with lead at your job, take a shower before coming home and wash your work clothes separately from all other clothes. Lead dust brought home on the clothes of workers can spread in the house and poison children. Lead is used in many workplaces, such as paint manufacturers, radiator repair shops, battery manufacturing plants and lead smelters.

Never sand, burn or scrape paint, unless you know that it does not have lead

Test painted surfaces for lead

Test before you begin remodeling your home especially if home is built before 1978. If the paint has lead, it needs to be handled safely. If the work is not done the right way, lead dust can scatter and poison your family, pets, neighbors, and workers. For information about remodeling your home safely, or to find a certified lead professional, visit

Keep children's furniture away from damaged paint.

Do not place cribs, playpens, beds, or highchairs next to areas where paint is chipping or peeling or can be chewed.

Wash your children's hands often, especially before eating

Do not use older, imported, or handmade dishes, for serving, preparing, or storing food or drink unless you know that they do not have lead.

Do not use home remedies or cosmetics that have lead, for example:Azarcon, Greta, Pay-loo-ah, Alkohl, Ghasard, Bali Goli, Kandu, Kohl (Alkohol), Surma and Sindor.

These powders may have a lot of lead and can be dangerous for children, pregnant women, and other adults.

Be aware and take safety measures if your job or hobbies use lead. For a list of jobs that may work with lead, visit:


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Contact Information

For more information, contact Solano County Health & Social Services Department, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, 1119 E. Monte Vista Avenue, MS 32-220, Vacaville, CA 95688 (707)784-8070