What Is Lead?


Lead is a metal that can be found in sources such as paint used in homes built before 1978, soil, water, old painted furniture and toys. Approximately 38 million homes in the United States still contain lead-based paint. Four million of these are home to one or more young children. The problem is not confined to poor families or caused mainly by children eating paint chips. It is usually the result of swallowing invisible lead dust created by chipping, peeling or flaking paint in older homes and rental units.

In St. Louis City more than 90 percent of the housing was built before 1978, the year lead in residential paint was banned. More than 60 percent of the housing in the City was built before 1950, when lead concentrations in paint were much higher. Millions of dollars are being spent to make housing lead safe. But houses that are lead safe today may poison children later if they are not properly maintained. Remember, you have the power to help protect your children and family from the dangers of lead poisoning.