Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention
The Lead Program's primary responsibility is to inspect the homes of lead poisoned children and identify any possible environmental lead hazards that may have caused or contributed to the child's poisoning.
Our inspector visits the home or dwelling unit of the
lead poisoned child and tests the paint, dust, soil, and water to determine if they contain lead levels above the regulatory standard. The inspector also interviews the family to see if other sources (such
as lead remedies, imported candies, lead glazed pottery, painted toys, lead
related hobbies or take-home lead from a family member's work) may have caused or contributed to the child's poisoning.
If lead hazards are found, the inspector informs the child's family and provides them with steps they can take to reduce their child's exposure to these lead hazards.
Whenever the paint, dust, soil, or water of the house contains lead levels above the standard, the property owner is required to eliminate or contain the hazards. The inspector monitors the property and works with the owner until the hazards are eliminated.
Our inspectors work in conjunction with Los
Angeles County Public Health Nurses who coordinate the
medical treatment for the affected children. The nurses do not work for Environmental Health, but work in the Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) division of Public Health. Additional information about their program can be found at their website:
Education for Prevention
Since lead poisoning can be prevented by eliminating exposures to lead hazards, the Lead Program works to educate the public of the dangers of lead and how to avoid them. The Lead Program participates in health fairs and community events to educate families about lead hazards in the home. Owners and contractors are informed on how to work safely with lead painted surfaces at homes built before 1978. Local government agencies are updated on current lead laws and encouraged to incorporate these in their permitting, inspection, and enforcement activities.
Unsafe Lead Work Practice Complaints
Sandblasting or dry scraping of paint on housing built before 1978 can create hazardous lead dust. This is called "unsafe lead work". The Lead Program responds to "unsafe lead work" complaints from the community or other agencies. Inspectors may test the property to see if the paint being disturbed contains lead. If the paint does contain lead, then the property owner
and contactor must clean up the site and use safe work practices when the work resumes. The owner/contractor must use plastic sheeting to contain any dust/debris and use work methods that minimize the creation of dust.
For more information, call 1-800-LA-4-LEAD (5323).