Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Program Overview:

The New York State Department of Health recommends every child be tested at one and two years of age and assessed for risk of lead poisoning at each well-child visit up until age 6 years of age. If your child has not been tested for lead, you should check with your health care provider or call the Health Department at 315-253-1560.

Our program provides:

  • lead testing
  • education
  • case management for children found to have elevated blood lead levels.

If a child has an elevated blood lead level, a Nurse will contact the family, provide guidance and education, and schedule a home visit. In some cases, a Home Assessment is conducted by Environmental Health to determine where in the home the child may be getting poisoned from. 

Our Community Health and Environmental Health staff work together to identify potential lead hazards and reduce the risk of lead exposure to the child and family members.        


What is lead?

  • Lead is a metal found in the earth and it is a poison.
  • For years lead was used in paint, gasoline, plumbing and many other items.
  • Lead paint was banned from home use in 1978. If you live in a home built before 1978, there could be lead paint and dust in your home.


Why is lead a problem?

  • If a child becomes poisoned by lead it can cause problems with a child's growth, behavior and ability to learn.


How does a child become poisoned?

  • A child can get lead poisoning by swallowing or breathing in lead.
  • Often times children are poisoned by lead dust.
  • Since many young children spend a lot of time on the floor where lead dust collects, they can end up poisoning themselves when they put their hands and toys with lead dust on them in their mouths.


Is your family at risk of lead poisoning?

  • If you answer yes to any of these questions, you should have your child tested for lead.
    • Do you live in or do you regularly visit a home built before 1978 with peeling or chipping paint or recent remodeling?
    • Have you and your child spent any time outside of the U.S. in the past year?
    • Does your child have a sibling, housemate or playmate that has an elevated blood lead level?
    • Does your child eat non-food items or often put things in their mouth such as toys, keys or jewelry?
    • Does your child come in contact with an adult whose job or hobby involves exposure to lead.
    • Does your family use traditional medicine, health remedies, powders, cosmetics, spices or foods from other countries?
    • Does your family eat food stored, cookered or served in leaded crystal, pewter or pottery from Asia or Latin America?



We also create maps of our lead cases to identify high-risk neighborhoods and communities.

Prevention of lead poisoning is important. Education is offered to the public, professional groups (pediatric, family care and prenatal medical providers in our community), community organizations and daycare providers. If you would like more information on lead poisoning prevention efforts in Cayuga County, call the Health Department at 315-253-1560. 

For more information on lead poisoning prevention visit: