Lead Program

The Montgomery County Health Department recommends universal screening for lead poisoning, for all children at age one and two, regardless of their risk. Lead Poisoning is a reportable disease in the state of Pennsylvania, and lead levels over 10 micrograms per deciliter are required to be reported to the Montgomery County Health Department, Division of Clinical Services. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has recently updated its recommendations on children’s blood lead levels. By shifting the focus to primary prevention of lead exposure and other hazards in the home that can contribute to injury or illness, we can reduce or eliminate dangerous risks in children’s environments BEFORE they occur.

Protecting children from exposure to lead, and other environmental and safety hazards, is important to lifelong good health. Even low levels of lead in the blood have been shown to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. Although lead can be found in many sources, lead exposure is entirely preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned by lead. Parents can take simple steps to make their homes more lead-safe. Lead poisoning is totally preventable by reducing and eliminating the lead source within a child’s environment.

Case Management Services
Lead case management services are provided to all Montgomery County residents who have a child, age 6 years and younger, who has been identified as having an elevated blood lead level. Case management services involve education and home visits by an Environmental Health Specialist and/or a Public Health Nurse. They work together to assist parents and homeowners in reducing and/or eliminating the source of lead exposure to the child. Some common sources of lead poisoning for children are:
  • Living in, or regularly visiting a home built before 1978, which has chipping paint, or has had recent renovations.
  • Living with household members whose job or hobby involves exposure to lead (for example, making stained glass, fishing lures, pottery or refinishing furniture).
  • Living near a battery recycling plant, or other industry likely to release lead
  • Use of imported pottery, imported cosmetics and/or imported spices, candy and herbal remedies.
Talk to your child’s doctor if you are concerned about lead exposure. Children can be given a simple blood test to measure the level of lead in their blood. The most important step parents, doctors, and others can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.