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Lead Poisoning Prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1.2 million children in the United States were diagnosed as lead poisoned in 2017.


You can't see, taste, or smell lead. Lead may be in the dust, paint, or soil around your home. Lead may be in your drinking water or food. Lead does not evaporate or biodegrade. Lead will exist in the environment until it is physically removed.


Lead is a useful element and was commonly used in paint, gasoline, and plumbing until the late 1970s in the United States. Homes built before 1980 may still contain high levels of lead due to peeling paint, contaminated soils, and/or old and outdated plumbing.


Oddly enough, lead tastes sweet. Children have been known to purposely peel paint off walls or chew on window sills to satisfy their sweet tooth. Toddlers are at highest risk of poisoning because they spend so much time touching and putting objects in their mouths.


Join the Muskegon Area Lead Reduction Coalition

Call 231-724-6350 or email us.


How lead affects your child's health

The long-term effects of lead in a child can be severe. They include learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactivity, impaired hearing, and even brain damage. If caught early, these effects can be limited by reducing exposure to lead or by medical treatment. If you're pregnant, avoid exposing yourself to lead. Lead can pass through your body to your baby. The good news is that there are simple things you can do to help protect your family.


  1. Get your child tested for lead poisoning, even if he or she seems healthy.
  2. Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and other surfaces weekly. Use a mop, sponge, or paper towel with warm water and a general all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead. Change the water and towel/rag often to avoid spreading.
  3. Reduce the risk of lead paint. Make sure your child is not chewing on painted surfaces.
  4. Learn about safe lead removal before working on old painted surfaces. (Take a look at this Don't Spread The Lead Do-It-Yourself Guide.)
  5. Don't bring lead dust into your home from work or hobbies.
  6. Have your water tested. If the cold water hasn't been used for more than a few hours, let it run for 15-30 seconds before drinking it or cooking with it. Don't use the hot water for drinking or cooking.
  7. Eat right.



Source: EPA

Lead Poisoning

and Your Children


Click on image for

more information.

Regularly eat healthy foods

Children with empty stomachs absorb more lead than children with full stomachs. Provide your child with four to six small meals during the day. The following nutrients can help protect your child from lead poisoning:


Source: EPA

Fight Lead Poisoning

with a Healthy Diet


Click on image for

more tips and recipes.

Iron-Rich Foods

Normal levels of iron work to protect the body from the harmful effects of lead. Good sources of dietary iron include:

  • Lean red meats, fish, and chicken
  • Iron-fortified cereals
  • Dried fruits (raisins, prunes)


Calcium-Rich Foods

Calcium reduces lead absorption and also helps make teeth and bones strong. Good sources of dietary calcium include:

  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Cheese
  • Green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, collard greens)


Vitamin C-Rich Foods

Vitamin C and iron-rich foods work together to reduce lead absorption. Good sources of vitamin C include:

  • Oranges, orange juice
  • Grapefruits, grapefruit juice
  • Tomatoes, tomato juice
  • Green peppers


If your children are 5 years old or younger, see if you qualify for WIC.


For help getting the lead out of your home

The Muskegon County Land Bank Authority is available to provide information on lead-safe home repairs and to make referrals to lead removal resources. Please call (231) 724-1259.   


Lead Hazard Reduction Program

If you live in Muskegon County, you may be eligible for help to make your home lead safe if:

  • You have a child under 6 years old living in or visiting the home on a regular basis;
  • You are a low to moderate income family;
  • You live in a home built before 1978; and
  • You own or rent the home.


Those who are eligible, receive:

  • Lead Inspection/Risk Assessment and report of findings ($500 value).
  • Lead Hazard Control Work - which may include new windows and doors and special cleaning and painting to qualified applicants.


If you'd like to find out if your home qualifies, call (231) 724-1259.


Even if you don't qualify for this program, we can help you determine what the next step is according to your situation. Please call (231) 724-1259.


Links for More Information

Actions You Can Take To Reduce Lead In Drinking Water

Michigan Healthy Homes & Lead Poisoning Prevention (MDHHS)

Blood Lead Levels in Children (CDC)

Preventing Lead Poisoning in Young Children (CDC)

Lead Poisoning Prevention Program Annual Report


Links for Health Care Providers

CDC Case Management Information

The CDC uses a reference level of 5 micrograms per deciliter to identify children who have been exposed to lead and who require case management.

Clinician Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Portal (MDHHS)


Links for Lead Professionals & Contractors

Lead Certification Process (MDHHS)

Lead Training Course Schedule (MDHHS)

Locate Accredited Renovation Training Programs (EPA)