Lead Poisoning Prevention

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Opens in new windowLead is a toxic metal that was used for many years in paint and other household products. Houses built before 1950 are at higher risk of being a lead hazard because the use of lead-based paint in housing was fairly common. Lead poisoning is a concern in Hunterdon County because of the large number of older homes. To learn more about municipalities with housing units built before 1950 in Hunterdon County view a Map of Pre 1950 Housing Units (PDF).

Lead, It's Not Just In Paint

Lead can be found in many items in your household such as cosmetics, health remedies, pottery, candy, jewelry, and toys. 

Find out more information by viewing the central region lead poisoning prevention coalition documents:


Prevent childhood lead poisoning by providing education and information on lead poisoning prevention methods to caregivers and medical providers.

County Public Health Nurses work with the Registered Environmental Health Specialists to Provide:

  • Case management.
  • Hazard assessment.
  • Lead Screening. Free for families without health insurance coverage.
  • Outreach education.
  • Provide education and resource referrals to residents.
  • Enforcement of state lead regulations.

Person Holding ChildYoung Children Have A Higher Risk for Lead Poisoning Because:

  • Their bodies absorb lead more easily than an adult.
  • They put their hands and other objects into their mouths.
  • Children's brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.

In Children, Lead Can Cause:

  • Nervous system and Kidney damage.
  • Learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence.
  • Speech, language, and behavior problems.
  • Poor muscle coordination.
  • Decreased muscle and bone growth.
  • Hearing damage.
  • Seizures, unconsciousness.

Window with Paint Chipping OffSources of Lead:

  • Lead-based paint (windows, doors, stairs, railings, porches, some toys)
  • Water: lead water pipes, lead solder
  • Lead Paint Soil: lead-based insecticides
  • Food: grown of lead pollution soil, packaged in cans with lead seams, stored in leaded-crystal or poorly glazed pottery
  • Other sources:
    • Drapery and window weights,
    • Antique pewter
    • Battery casings
    • Some herbal medicines and cosmetics
    • Some porcelain and pottery
    • Some imported candies
    • Dust or fumes form hobbies such as staining glass and target shooting
    • Fishing weights
    • Lead soldiers and other collectible figurines

Fruits Fruit and Dairy ProductsWhat You Can Do to Protect Your Family

  • Get your young children screened for lead
  • If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or chipping paint
  • Clean up paint chips immediately
  • Use only cold water for drinking and cooking
  • Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it
  • Wet mop to clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces regularly
  • Wash children's hands and toys often
  • Keep a safe play area that does not contain any lead hazards
  • Keep children from chewing window sills or other painted surfaces
  • Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to avoid tracking in lead from soil
  • Make sure children eat nutritious, low-fat meals high in iron and calcium

New Jersey State Law Requires:

  • All children have their blood tested for lead at age 1 year and again at age 2 years.
  • Children between the ages of 3 to 6, who have never been tested, should be tested.
  • High-risk children need to be tested more frequently.

If your child is under 6 years of age and has not been tested contact your physician.

Renovating Your Home

On April 22, 2010, a new EPA rule came into effect that requires companies that perform renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 to be certified by EPA. Renovators must be trained by an EPA accredited training provider and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination. For more information go to www.epa.gov/lead

Call 908-788-1351 or email the Health Department for more information.

Additional Resources:

Toxic Treats Lead Poisoning in Candy and other Foods

Toxic Treats Opens in new windowHealth officials have detected dangerous levels of lead in 112 distinct brands of candy - most of them made in Mexico. One in four candy and wrapper samples have come up high since 1993, records show. But much of this information about tainted candy has been kept from parents and public health workers.

View an Informational Poster from Orange County, California Department of Health: