Environmental Health

Lead the Fight Against Lead - Take Some Action

If you suspect that lead may be present in the paint in your school, in the soil in the playground, or in the water supply, you should follow the quick tips below on how to minimize the hazard. It may also be a good idea to test painted surfaces, places where dust collects, the soil outside, and the water supply to get a better understanding of the risk level in your particular school.

To order a lead testing kit for any surface: soil, painted areas, water, or ceramic, visit Clean Water Lead Testing Inc. They will analyze your results in a laboratory and send you recommendations on what to do.

For a 30-second test kit that can detect lead on any surface, but may have less detailed results, visit LeadCheck.

If you can’t order a kit online or you would like to talk to a real person and get some advice on what surfaces you should test and which kit you need, the National Lead Watch Clearinghouse can help you find the right kit. 1-800-424-LEAD [5323]

Quick tips to limit physical exposure-

  1. Repair any chipping paint surfaces in your school, and make sure nothing is damaging the paint like water leakage
  2. Clean up obvious paint chips.
  3. Have the windows and doors re-adjusted if they stick and rub hard when opened.
  4. Don’t let children put their mouths on any painted surfaces or dusty surfaces and especially don’t let them eat paint chips.
  5. Clean surfaces with damp cloths and mops to get rid of dust. According to Environmental Science & Technology, lead dust can be removed just as effectively using all-purpose detergents as lead-specific cleaning products or trisodium phosphate, products that are less environmentally friendly.
  6. Make sure the vacuum cleaners in your school have a HEPA (High efficiency particulate air) filter so that dust particles containing lead do not float around when vacuuming
  7. Wash toys that are used in the classroom
  8. Make sure children wash their hands, especially before eating and naptimes
  9. Keep all non-grassy areas outside covered with non-edible vegetation, covered in mulch or don’t let children play there

To limit exposure through the tap water—
  1. Let tap water run until it turns cold (usually 15 to 30 seconds), especially if it has not been run in a couple hours
  2. Only use cold water for drinking and cooking
  3. Install a water filter
  4. Avoid using water softeners

To limit exposure by other possible threats--
  1. Don’t let children play with old, painted toys from the 1970’s or before. Some toys on the market today have been recalled recently because of lead hazards. For a list of recalled toys, visit Lead Poisoning Prevention
  2. Don’t use old, painted furniture in the classroom.
  3. Don’t store any food or liquids in lead-glazed pottery, porcelain, or crystal.
  4. Try to avoid imported food items or ceramics.
  5. Wash fruits and vegetables well because pesticides and soil particles may contain lead.