Childhood lead poisoning can occur when a child is exposed to even
a small amount
of lead.

How do children become lead poisoned?

Children become lead poisoned when they:

  • Put lead-based paint chips in their mouths
  • Put dusty or dirty hands, toys, bottles, or pacifiers in their mouths.
  • Chew on surfaces painted with lead-based paint.
  • Play in dirt or a sandbox near an old house or building or where one was torn down.
  • Breathe in dust from lead-based paint that is being sanded, scraped, or removed.

How common is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning affects 1 in 14 Iowa children. This is four times the national average.

Lead poisoning is usually caused by lead-based paint found in homes built before 1960. About 60 percent of homes in Iowa were built before 1960, both in urban and rural areas.

Could your child be lead poisoned?

Yes– most children with lead poisoning do not look sick. Lead-poisoned children may:

  • Be easily excited.
  • Have problems paying attention.
  • Complain of stomach aches and headaches.
  • Be more tired than usual.

Lead-poisoned children may have learning problems when they start school.

Children with very high lead levels may develop brain damage or even die.

How can you tell if your child is lead-poisoned?

The only way to tell if your child is lead-poisoned is to have their blood tested. All Iowa children must be tested for lead poisoning before starting kindergarten.



If you would like to learn more on how to protect your child or how to tell if your child has lead poisoning, contact us and someone from our staff will assist you.


About Us


Contact Us

Marion County Public Health Department
2003 N. Lincoln
Box 152
Knoxville, IA 50138
Phone: (641) 828-2238
Fax: (641) 842-3442

Lead Poisoning Prevention