Health Effects of Lead Exposure

No safe level of lead exposure in children has been identified.

Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health and cause well-documented adverse effects such as:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Hearing and speech problems

This can cause:

  • Lower IQ
  • Decreased ability to pay attention
  • Underperformance in school

There is also evidence that childhood exposure to lead can cause long-term harm.

The good news is that childhood lead poisoning is 100% preventable.

CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program is working across government programs to teach healthcare providers, parents, educators and others how to track developmental milestones in children under five who have documented lead exposure―and how to act early if there is a concern.