Get the Lead out: Keeping Children Safe

Lead poisoning may sound like a problem from the past, but lead exposure is still a very real problem. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that over 24 million homes have lead paint and lead dust. If your house was built before the 1980’s, it is very likely lead paint is somewhere in your home. Young children are particularly at risk for lead poisoning, as they are more likely to put objects in their mouth and crawl around on their hands and knees. Even if paint chips containing lead are not ingested by a child, old paint deteriorates, meaning the dust can be in the air and on the ground they touch.

Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

Lead can build up in the body over time. If you think your child has lead poisoning, contact a poison control center and take your child to a hospital immediately. A few lead-poisoning symptoms include:

  • Irritability and inability to concentrate or learn new information
  • Stomach pain, cramping, constipation, loss of appetite and diarrhea
  • Headaches
  • Tingling or Numbness in limbs
  • Anemia
  • Loss of coordination and slurred speech

Tips for Parents

Even if lead is in your home, there are steps you can take to keep your child safe.

  • If you suspect a toy or other product contains lead, visit and search for lead recalls.
  • Buy American-made toys whenever possible. Toy jewelry with metal components and painted toy pearls often contain lead. For more information on toy safety and lead, visit the CDC’s website.
  • Watch out for peeling paint and keep children away from painted surfaces that appear to be deteriorating.
  • Lead can be in your yard as well. Dirt can contain high amounts of lead and should be covered with mulch, sand, or other materials to make sure children don’t have direct access to it.
  • Get a lead testing kit for items that you think contain lead.

Receive Your Free Lead Testing Kit

As a public service, the Corson & Johnson Law Firm is making available free of charge lead testing kits which were developed in conjunction with the United Steel Workers. The goal of this initiative is to distribute at least 1,000 toxic awareness kits to families, child care providers, and schools in the Willamette Valley. Each kit contains one testing swab which can be used on a suspected toy or product.

If you are an Oregon resident and would like to receive your Get the Lead Out lead testing kit, fill out the contact form below and it will be mailed to you. If you are a childcare center or school, you can order a maximum of 30 kits.