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Frequently Asked Questions

What is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning is a condition caused by exposure to lead resulting in high blood lead levels. Childhood lead poisoning can cause learning disabilities, language and behavioral problems, lower I.Q., attention deficit disorder, hearing loss, anemia, muscle weakness, damage to nervous system and kidneys, and rarely death.

Who is at highest risk for lead poisoning?

Children 6-72 months of age, living at or below the poverty level who live in older housing. The most common risk factor for childhood lead poisoning is the residential lead based paint which is used in almost all housing units built prior to 1950, and the lead contaminated dust and soil. Lead based paint was banned for use in 1978, which means that all houses built before 1950 and between 1950 and 1978 may have lead based paint.

What are the sources of lead exposure?

Click here to find about the sources of lead exposure.

How lead gets into the body?

Lead gets into the body mainly through ingestion (swallowing) or inhalation (breathing). Children can often swallow paint chips, lead contaminated dust and soil, or liquids and water that contain lead due to frequent hand-to-mouth activity. They can also breathe in lead dust.

What is an elevated blood lead level (EBLL)?

Blood lead level of 5 µg/dL or greater is considered an EBLL. Although there is no scientific evidence on a safe level of lead in the blood, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has set a reference level for children at 5 µg/dL at which recommended specific interventions should be implemented to reduce the blood lead levels.

Does my child need a blood lead test?

If your child is 6-72 months of age, please view the Lead Risk Assessment Questionnaire (LERAQ) (English) (En Espanol)  to determine if he/she should be tested.

How do I know if my child is lead poisoned?

Most children with EBLL have no obvious signs and symptoms. A blood test is the only sure way to know if your child has lead poisoning.

What should I do if I suspect there is lead in my home?

Have your home checked by a qualified inspector. Click here to find a certified lead-based paint professional in Oklahoma.

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