Lead is a heavy soft metal found in pipes, cable sheaths, batteries, solder, and shields. Lead and its compounds are toxic and can present a severe hazard to those who are overexposed to them. Until 1978, lead was added to paint to promote adhesion, corrosion control, drying, and covering and was used extensively on exteriors and interiors. The only way to determine which building components are coated with lead paint is through an inspection for lead-based paint. Varnishes and glazes sometimes contained lead. People absorb lead from a variety of sources every day.
Lead exposure could cause a variety of health effects depending on the amount of lead and the length of time and age of the person exposed to lead. Young children are more susceptible to toxic effects of lead, which can cause behavioral issues, learning disability, abdominal pain and growth retardation.
Sources of Lead
Although lead has been used in numerous consumer products, the most important sources of lead exposure are the following:
contaminated house dust from deteriorated lead-based paint that has settled on horizontal surfaces
contaminated bare soil
food prepared in contaminated containers such as ceramic glazed pottery, contaminated spices such as turmeric and lozeena (used as food coloring) and some candy / candy wrappers
kids jewelry, charms and amulets
drinking water,from corrosion of plumbing systems (For more information click here)
occupational exposure or hobbies
Children are more vulnerable to lead poisoning than are adults. Infants can be exposed to lead in the womb if their mothers have lead in their bodies. Infants and children can be exposed to lead in dirt, dust, or sand through normal hand-to-mouth activity while they play on the floor or ground. Macomb County Health Department recommends all children under age of 6 to be tested. The most reliable test for elevated blood lead level is blood drawing.
Adults are usually exposed to lead from occupational sources (e.g., battery construction, paint removal) or at home (e.g., paint removal, home renovations) or through hobbies (making fishing sinkers and lead bullets).
Lead in your Home
If your home was built before 1978 there is a good chance you have leaded paint in some areas of the house. The best method is to hire a lead inspector. The list of certified lead inspectors can be found here
Macomb County Health Department responds to cases of elevated blood lead level in children who reside in the County. Depending on the level, different actions will be taken to ensure a safe environment for the children. These steps include phone consultation, sending educational material (on proper cleaning, eating habits and proper diet) to the house, home visit by Nursing Department and performing full environmental inspection and investigation by Environmental Division, making recommendation and referring the case to the State of Michigan for lead abatement and replacement of house components that contain lead.
For more information please contact the Macomb County Health Department at (586)469-5236
Help to Make Your Home and Family Lead-Safe
Do you live in an old home and have old windows or peeling paint? If so, the State of Michigan’s Lead Safe Home Program offers lead testing and lead hazard control services to qualifying families through grants.
You may qualify if you:
Have a child under 6 or a pregnant female living in the home
Are a low-to-moderate income family
Live in a home built before 1978
Own or rent the home
You can access the Lead Safe Home Program application here.
Contact the State of Michigan’s Lead Safe Home Program with questions at (866) 691-5323 (toll-free).
If you have any questions, call us at 586-469-5236, Monday-Friday, 8:30 a.m. - 5:00 p.m. or E-mail us now.
Michigan Department of Community Health
Environmental Protection Agency
CPSC for list of Recalled Items: