Childhood Lead Poisoning

At a glance

Childhood lead poisoning is preventable. In the United States, the major source of lead exposure among children is lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in buildings built before 1978. No safe level of lead exposure has been identified.

Young girl with teddy bear looks out of window.

We Track That

Older homes can have peeling or chipping lead-based paint and high levels of lead-contaminated dust. Living in an older home is one risk factor that can contribute to higher blood lead levels in children. Having measures for blood lead levels (BLLs) and a measure for age of housing together on the Tracking Network can help assess testing within areas of high risk.

Types of Data

This indicator uses census data to provide information about the number of homes built before 1950 and homes built from 1950-1979. Census data do not account for the number of older houses that have been renovated or have had lead removed. This indicator does not consider other sources of lead in the community.

Access the Data

Use the Data Explorer to create custom maps, tables, and charts.

View data in simple Quick Reports.

Get machine-readable data from the Application Program Interface (API).

Data in Action

Tracking children with lead poisoning and sources of lead can help with the following actions.

  • Identifying children at risk
  • Targeting testing and resources
  • Connecting children with elevated blood lead levels to services
  • Monitoring progress towards eliminating childhood lead poisoning
  • Identifying and monitoring trends in sources of lead
  • Removing and reducing sources of lead
  • Developing and evaluating lead poisoning interventions and programs

Related Content Areas

Race/ethnicity and living in poverty are risk factors that can contribute to higher blood lead levels in children. You can view these data under Populations and Vulnerabilities.

Biomonitoring: Population Exposures has data on the concentration of lead in blood for the U.S. population.