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The Real Risk of Lead


Parents and Educators

Detroit Free Press published this great resource for the families being affected in Flint. This 16-page document is a comprehensive guide with tons of relevant information for families and educators nationwide including tips for safe habits, ways to keep water safe, common concerns and questions, and warning signs for children's development. The water crisis in Flint is affecting every aspect of its residents' lives, and this guide makes sure to address all concerns, including tips and recipes for how to use less water when cooking, as well as meal programs and food services that are available and how to treat the rashes that lead exposure can cause.

Take a moment to find your region on this interactive map that allows you to see how many times your water source has tested at elevated lead levels over the past three years. USA Today published this article about the 350 water systems that have failed to meet EPA standards between 2012 and 2015. The article details the different factors involved in evaluating school water, such as the fact that about “90,000 public schools and half a million child-care facilities are not regulated under the Safe Water Drinking Act.”

This is a great resource for programs and families to understand what a blood lead level test really means. The New York Department of Health published this easy-to-use resource online to breakdown the numbers parents get back from test results and inform them about how to minimize lead-exposure at home.

Curious which counties in your states have the highest rates of children exposed to lead? Natalie Morin from Health Grove took information published by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention in 2014 about elevated lead levels in children under 72 months and mapped it by state and county for 21 states. Not all states are included, so the list only ranks the states that report their data.

On The Hill’s Congress Blog, NHSA Executive Director Yasmina Vinci writes about Head Start’s role in Flint, Michigan. Head Start’s comprehensive services have served as a necessary intervention in New York after Superstorm Sandy and in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Now, Head Start has an important role to play in Flint. Recognizing the power of Head Start as a valuable intervention, the Department of Health and Human Services announced a $3.6 million one-time emergency fund in early March.

The Centers for Disease Control has compiled a list of information by specific cities and states. Click on your state to find out who your local contacts are and where you can find out more information.

Houses are the number places for lead exposure in the United States. There are many precautions that you can take to make sure your home is as safe as can be. Check out this Centers for Disease Control list of tools and resources for ways to reduce your risk.

Ethan's House gets Healthier is a children's book and coloring book that the Centers for Disease Control published as a resource to help parents and teachers start a conversation about lead with young children.


Check out the Environmental Protection Agency’s risk evaluation checklist to have the information that you need to keep your family and home safe.

The CDC published this resource for parents to share some quick facts and provide a clear plan of action about how to make their homes more lead-safe. In older homes (built before 1978), for example, lead-based paint or metal window frames are concerns. Soil and dust containing lead can be tracked into homes on shoes. Artificial turf, imported candy, and jewelry are just some of the other places lead is found. This easy-to-read two pager is a great resource to raise awareness among parents and staff.

Lead can be found in many different places. Toys that are imported from other countries can be a big threat. KidsHealth explains some general guidelines to make sure you choose safe toys for your child.


There are fact sheets available in five different languages, talking points to help start a conversation about lead, and several useful classroom materials such as songs and crafts. 

Educators can be on the look out for signs of lead exposure, too. Read this fact sheet to find out more. Lead exposure can also drastically affect the behavior and cognitive functioning of children. As educators, measures can be taken to ensure that these children are receiving the support they need.

Pregnant Women

This is a quick fact sheet for pregnant mothers about what lead exposure can do, where it can be found, why you need to be especially careful, and who you should talk to about your risk factors.

What are risk factors? Are you looking for prevention tips? For some topical information about the threats of lead, this is a great place to start.