Lead Exposure: How to Keep Your Child Safe

Lead Exposure: How to Keep Your Child Safe

Jul 28 2021

Did you know lead in your home could be the source of long-term damage to your child’s health?

Your home should be a safe space for your family. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children in at least 4 million U.S. homes are exposed to elevated levels of lead. About half a million children between the ages of 1 and 5 have blood lead levels higher than approved by the CDC. Luckily, there are ways to keep your children safe and healthy.


Lead exposure is especially harmful to children ages 6 months to 3 years old. Lead is found in lead-based paints used in many homes until the late 1970s, water flowing through old lead pipes and faucets, some kinds of toys and more. Exposure to lead at a young age can have long-term effects on brain development, the central nervous system and liver. Lead exposure can even affect mood, attention span and behavior.

Your child may be at risk if they meet any of these conditions:

  • Live or have lived in a home built before 1950
  • Have eaten food stored containers made with lead that use lead to seal canned food
  • Exposure to toys, jewelry, stained glass, ink, paint and plaster
  • Have a family member being treated for lead exposure

Free testing

Lead testing is free for Priority Health Medicaid members. Priority Health offers free lead testing services to Medicaid members up to 21 years old. And for kids 2 years old and younger, parents can receive a $10 Visa gift card for having their child screened. Call or visit your local health department, or talk to your primary care provider, to schedule a test or learn more.

You should get your child tested for lead poisoning between the ages of 6 and 12 months, and again between the ages of 24 and 36 months. Some children do not show signs of sickness—another reason to be sure to get your child’s blood tested for lead. Signs of sickness include headaches, vomiting, weakness, loss of appetite and weight loss.

Once you’ve scheduled a lead screening appointment for your child, it’s important to ensure your home is safe by looking into low-to-no-cost lead inspections and removal. Keeping a healthy, lead-free home is important for your little one’s healthy growth and development.

For more information on how to protect your child from lead exposure, visit the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services website or call 866.691.5323.

N4001-06 Approved MH07022019