Ed Day, Rockland County Executive

October 21, 2022
Contact: Beth Cefalu, Director of Strategic Communications (845) 638-5645
                Patricia Schnabel Ruppert, D.O., M.P.H., CPE, DABFM, FAAFP (845) 364-2512


Learn how to reduce children's exposure to lead

NEW CITY, NY, - During Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, Sunday, October 23 – Saturday, October 29, 2022, Rockland County Executive Ed Day and County Health Commissioner Dr. Patricia Schnabel Ruppert warn residents that lead continues to be a major cause of poisoning among children and can seriously harm a child's health. Children younger than 6 are most at risk for lead poisoning since their nervous system is developing, and lead is easily absorbed. They are also at higher risk of exposure to lead because young children tend to put their fingers and toys in their mouths.

Every year, National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (NLPPW) highlights the many ways parents can reduce children's exposure to lead, prevent its serious health effects, and learn about the importance of testing children for lead. NLPPW raises awareness about the danger of lead exposure and poisoning. The Health Department is conducting a "Get the Facts. Get your Child Tested. Get your Home Tested. #Lead-Free Kids" awareness campaign during NLPPW. As part of NLPPW, a children's art project that emphasizes and shows how to wash lead out of homes will be shared online. Posters with children's lead poisoning prevention artwork will be displayed on our Rockland County Facebook and Twitter pages and our website at

Lead can be found inside and outside the home, including in the water that travels through lead pipes or in the soil around the house. The most common source of exposure is from lead-based paint. Homes built before 1978 may have lead-painted windowsills, window frames, and walls. When old paint is sanded, scraped, brushed, burned, or cracks and peels due to wear and tear, it makes lead dust. Adults and children can get lead into their bodies by breathing in lead dust (especially during activities such as renovations, repairs, or painting). They can also get lead into their bodies by swallowing lead dust that settles in food, food preparation surfaces, floors, windowsills, eating paint chips, soil containing lead, or other places. Children can become exposed to lead dust from adults' jobs or hobbies and from some metal toys or toys painted with lead-based paint. Avoid some products imported from the Middle East, Latin America, Southeast Asia, China, and India.

To prevent exposure, it is important to keep floors, play areas, windowsills, and baseboards clean. Use a wet mop or wipe clean these areas once a week. Keep children from playing outside in the dirt, keep indoor and outdoor toys separate, and regularly wash children's faces, hands, toys, and pacifiers. If your child's lead level is high: 5 μg/dL or greater, the Rockland County Health Department will talk to you about how to protect your child and will visit your home to help you find the sources of lead exposure.

"There is no safe blood lead level in children. Even low levels of lead in the blood can cause developmental delays, difficulty learning, behavioral issues, and neurological damage. The effects of lead poisoning can be permanent and disabling. Lead can also be a problem for adults, as pregnant women can pass lead to their babies, putting them at risk of miscarriage or causing the baby to be born too early or too small. The good news is that childhood and in-utero lead poisoning is 100% preventable," said Dr. Ruppert.

Parents can reduce a child's exposure to lead in many ways. Here are some simple things you can do to get ahead of lead:

  • Get your child tested. New York State requires healthcare providers to test all children for lead with a simple blood lead test at ages one and two. At every well-child visit up to age six, healthcare providers must ask parents about any contact their child might have had with lead. If there's been a chance of contact, providers are required to test for lead again.
  • Renovate your home in a lead-safe way. Contact your local town or village before renovating or remodeling to find out if a building permit is required. Renovate right with lead-safe work practices. For information about remodeling or renovating in a lead-safe way, or to find a contractor or inspector, visit the EPA website at Before you buy an older home, consider a lead inspection. To learn about your rights before you buy or lease, visit the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website
  • Clean your home to prevent lead dust. Regularly clean floors, windowsills, and other surfaces using a wet mop or wipe.
  • Feed your family foods that can help prevent lead poisoning. Food high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C makes it difficult for lead to be absorbed in the body. For more information on specific foods and tips, visit
  • Get the facts. The Health Department can provide you with helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning, call (845) 364-2585, (845) 364-2558, or visit

For more information on how to reduce children's exposure to lead in their environment and prevent its serious health effects, visit the CDC's NLPPW website