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How does lead poisoning occur?

The most common way people are exposed to high levels of lead is through lead-based paint. Older buildings that were built before 1978 were usually painted with lead-based paint. Although it was outlawed that year, many buildings in the New York City area still have lead paint that is now deteriorating, chipping and entering the air as dust particles. Some families have suffered lead poisoning during the remodeling of a home or apartment building.

Sanding lead-based paint is extremely dangerous. The paint should be removed by a qualified company that deals with removing and disposing of hazardous materials. The family should immediately move out of any location that is found to have lead-based paint.

Other ways people have been exposed to lead include toys and other products that have made it into the country and are later found to contain lead. The influx of toys, toy jewelry and even clothing from overseas has led to a number of recalls for consumer items. Lead exposure can also come from the water in a home if the pipes are made of lead or are soldered with lead (common with copper piping). Lead has also been found in some home or folk remedies.

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