Lead Poisoning

According to New Jersey Poison Information & Education System, lead is a highly toxic metal that can cause brain damage and other serious health effects in children, adults and even pets. Lead has been reported to cause learning and developmental disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing and brain damage. Lead poisoning occurs when lead paint chips are eaten or when lead dust is either eaten or breathed into the lungs. 

Homes built after 1978 are not likely to have lead based paint. Lead can be found around the home in dust, paint and soil. Lead can also be found in children's costume jewelry, food, dietary and herbal products, and even some candies made outside of the U.S. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. No safe blood lead level in children has been identified. Lead exposure can affect nearly every system in the body. Because lead exposure often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. 


If you have an immediate concern about lead poisoning, call NJ Poison Control, NJ Poison Information and Education System, at 800.222.1222 to speak with a poison control specialist or visit their website to start a live chat from their home page.


Hudson County

Puertorriquenos Associados for Community Organizations (PACO) and the County of Hudson are partnering together to provide Hudson County residents with information on the home remediation program for those households who are at a greater risk of lead poisoning. More information about this program can be found here.  

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), children are diagnosed with lead poisoning if their blood lead level is at or above 10 micrograms per deciliter. Many children with lead poisoning don’t show any symptoms and so it is very important to have your child tested if you suspect lead poisoning. When symptoms, including stomachaches and anemia, do occur they are often mistaken for less serious illnesses.

The effects of lead poisoning are very consequential. Lead poisoning can cause:

  • Seizures
  • Severe brain damage which can result in developmental or intellectual disabilities
  • Coma
  • Death

Even low levels of lead poisoning may be associated with:

  • Decreased hearing
  • Lower intelligence
  • Hyperactivity
  • Attention deficits
  • Developmental problems that can make learning more difficult

Potential sources of lead contamination include:

  • Lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. If lead-based paint chips or turns to dust it is easily swallowed or inhaled and can just as easily contaminate clothing and toys that a child handles.
  • Candy, toys, glazed pottery and folk medicine made in other countries
  • Work sites like auto refinishing, construction and plumbing
  • Soil and tap water

To learn more about lead poisoning and what you can do to protect yourself and your loved ones, visit the Centers for Disease Control website and the NJ Department of Health.x


Page last modified/reviewed on April 04, 2017

If you know of additional resources that would be appropriate to include in this section, please let us know by contacting us via e-mail at info@nj211.org

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