Lead is very dangerous to children. A child’s growing body absorbs more lead than adults do. A young child between to ages of 9 month and 6 years old are at most risk. Babies brains and nervous systems are very sensitive to the effects of lead. If you are pregnant, lead can hurt your baby.
One of the reasons babies and young children are so susceptible to lead poisoning is because they are constantly putting their fingers and other objects into their mouth that can have lead from dust or soil on them.


• Using dishes or glasses that contain lead.

• Inhaling lead dust from lead-based paint. When lead-based paint peels or cracks it makes lead dust that can poison children when they swallow or breathe in the lead dust.

• Playing in lead contaminated soil.

• Playing with toys with lead-based paint.

• Houses built before 1978 used lead paint. Lead-based paint was banned after 1978.

• Peeling or cracking lead-based paint. Young child may swallow the peeling paint.

• Certain water pipes can contain lead.

• Lead can be in candies from other countries, like Mexico.

• An adult can bring lead dust into the home if it is present at their workplace (Construction workers, Auto repair, Plumbing, working with batteries, and Welders )

• Some hobbies like stain glass may contain lead-based products and the lead dust can be brought into the home.

• Renovations being done to older homes can cause lead dust to fall inside and outside the home.

• Make-up

• Toy jewelry

• Imported cans of food

• White powders used for stomachaches (such as Azarcon or Paylooah)


Most children who have lead poisoning do not look or act sick. A lead test is the only way to know if your child has lead poisoning.

Some children may have:

• Upset stomach

• Trouble eating or sleeping

• Headaches
• Trouble paying attention

Often lead paint poisoning is detected when a baby or young child has a routine physical and blood test.

It is important that you have the child tested before they attend a childcare program. This help you to determine if the child has a high level of lead paint from their home or from the childcare environment.


Elevated lead paint levels do not go away. Long-term effects can:

• Harm the brain, kidneys, and nervous system

• Slow down growth and development

• Make it difficult for the child to learn.

• Damage hearing and speech

• Cause behavior problems

According to the Massachusetts Department of Health, Childhood Lead Paid Poisoning Prevention Program, a blood lead level of 5 or more is not safe. A lead level of 10 or more means a child is lead poisoned. With levels of 10 or more, the child may have to stay in the hospital. The doctor may give the child medication to help get the lead out of the child’s body. This is call “chelation”.

If you suspect development problems with any of the children in your program, talk to the child’s parents and urge them to, talk to their doctor. The child may need special education programs that can start before they go to school and continue while they are in school.

If a child in your care has elevated levels of lead, you need to have your childcare environment tested for lead. It is important to find out where the child is getting lead. If you rent your home, ask your landlord to test your home for lead. If your landlord refuses, call CLPPP*. A state inspector will test your home for free. Your landlord must pay to fix the lead in the home. Families with children under 6 years old are protected by law.

If you own your home, hire a licensed lead inspector to test your home. Review your Childcare licensing contract. Specifically look at Policy for peeling paint (See 606 CMR 7.07).

When EEC finds that a family childcare home is not in compliance with physical facility requirements regarding peeling, chipping or flaking paint, the licensee is given the "Renovate Right" brochure and this EEC policy which outlines the basic facts about lead safety and provides a timeframe of up to 60 days for the licensee to comply. A follow up monitoring visit by EEC will be conducted to assure compliance.

Until an acceptable plan of compliance is submitted to EEC, the following procedures are in effect:

• If children are in care the educator may not enroll any new children into the program.

• The educator must use an alternative outdoor play space.

• If the peeling/chipping paint is inside the home that room/area cannot be used for childcare.

• Entry and exit routes must be kept free of any peeling, flaking or chipping paint.

• Verify that parents have been notified of the dangers of lead poisoning in writing.

• All children in care must have up-to-date lead tests.

• A follow up visit by EEC will be conducted to assure compliance.

If the Licensee fails to correct the peeling paint or does not comply with the required procedures outlined above within the timeframe, the educator will be instructed to close the program and go inactive until the home can meet the physical facility requirements. If the educator fails to comply, the case will be referred to the EEC Legal Unit for possible further action.

7.07(15)(a)1-6 Lead Poisoning
The licensee must provide parents with a disclosure statement regarding any known source of lead in the home and maintain in each child’s record a written acknowledgement of receipt of the notification. If chipping or peeling paint or plaster is found in a home built prior to 1978, the licensee must provide written notification to the parent(s) of all children in care of the possibility of exposure to lead paint.

If the family childcare home is determined by the Department of Public Health (DPH) to be the source of lead poisoning for any child, the licensee must notify EEC and follow DPH guidelines to eliminate further risk of lead poisoning.
Fixing the lead paint in a home is called de-leading.
De-leading can be dangerous. It must be done by someone who has been trained to do the work safely. Some work can only be done by a licensed de-leader. To learn more, call CLPPP* to request a copy of the De-leading booklet.

If you own your home, you can get money to
help you pay for de-leading.

Call the Get The Lead Out Program at 1-617-854-1000 for details.

Until the lead is removed, there are 3 easy things you can do to protect any children in your home from lead:


• Often wipe down surfaces with a wet wipe, this will reduce lead dust.

• When cleaning always wear gloves.

• Using a spray bottle will reduce dust.

• Scrub surfaces with an all-purpose cleaner.

• Use a new paper towel to clean each area. Using a cloth or sponge will only spread the dust.

• Using the paper towel, put the paint chips and the paper towel in a plastic bag and close bag tightly before putting it in the trash.

• Wash your hands thoroughly after cleaning.

• Do not use a vacuum or a broom to clean up lead paint or dust. This can spread dust into the air.

• Be sure to clean in and around windows, play areas and floors.

• Wash hands and toys often.

• Clean at least once a week.

• Take shoes off before coming inside. Use a doormat to wipe your feet.


• Wash your child’s hands often and always before eating and sleeping.

• Wash your children’s toys with soap and water.

• If a family member works with lead, they should change clothes before they come home. They should shower before playing with children.

• Wash work clothes separate from the rest of the laundry.

• Use contact paper or duct tape to cover loose paint in and around windows and walls.

• Move furniture in front of peeling paint or plaster.

• Never place furniture where a child may climb on it and fall out of a window.

• Keep the lower part of the window closed.

• Open only the upper part, if you can.

• Change your child’s bedroom. If your child’s bedroom has chipping paint, use another room.

• Do not do any remodeling or repair work until your home has been inspected for lead.


Look for foods with calcium, iron, and vitamin C. These foods can help keep lead out of the body.

• Calcium is in milk, yogurt, cheese, and green leafy vegetables like spinach.

• Iron is in lean meats, fish, beans, cereals, nuts, and peanut butter.

• Vitamin C is in oranges, tomatoes, green and red peppers, and juice.

Give your child healthy snacks like:

• Fresh fruits and vegetables

• Whole grain crackers Cheese and yogurt

Give your child 4 to 6 small meals a day.

• Children absorb less lead on a full stomach.

Make mealtimes safer.

• Eat at the table.

• Don’t eat food that has fallen on the floor.

• Wash your child’s hands before every snack or meal.

• Use cold water for cooking, drinking, and making formula.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) Massachusetts Department of Public Health 250 Washington St., 7th Floor Boston, MA 02108 Call: 1-800-532-9571 or 617-624-5757 TTY: 617-624-5286 Email: clppp@state.ma.us On the web: www.mass.gov/dph/clppp CLPPP stands for the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program. If you have questions about lead, call CLPPP for toll free at 1-800-532-9571 or visit http://www.mass.gov/dph/CLPPP Massachusetts Department of Public Health Bureau of Environmental Health Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care-Family Childcare Licensing