The Greater Nashua Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is a resource that provides support to the community by offering education, blood lead level testing, and case management. The goal is to raise awareness of lead hazards and provide access to lead poisoning prevention resources. We hope to eliminate childhood lead poisoning through partnerships, community-based education, and advocacy.
Evidence shows that the most common source of lead exposure for children today is lead paint in older housing and the contaminated dust and soil it generates. New Hampshire has the oldest housing of anywhere in the United States with 62% of its homes built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978.
Lead poisoning happens when lead gets into the body from breathing, eating, or drinking. Children are at higher risk because their bodies absorb more lead. Lead can damage their brain and/or organs.
Lead is highly toxic and affects virtually every system of the body. It can damage a child’s kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia. At very high levels, lead can cause coma, convulsions, and death. Even low levels of lead are harmful. Low levels are associated with decreased intelligence, behavior problems, reduced physical stature and growth, and impaired hearing.
No safe blood lead level in children have been identified.
Sources of Lead
- Paint (and associated dust) pre 1978 ban
- Drinking water
- Folk medicines and cosmetics
- Children’s costume jewelry, masks, and imported toys
- Workplace (Construction, fuse of firearms, painting and refinishing, scrap metal, manufacturing, plumbing, welding, and more)
- Hobbies (Fire arms, stained glass, fishing with sinkers and jig heads, pottery, furniture refinishing, and more)
- Imported candies and spices
- Lead-glazed ceramics, china, leaded crystal, and pewter
- Wash children’s hands after playing and before eating.
- Wash bottles, pacifiers, play spaces, and toys often with warm, soapy water.
- If needed, talk to your landlord about fixing surfaces with peeling or chipping paint.
- Clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces with a wet mop or cloth often.
- Make sure children eat low-fat foods high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C.
- Remove your shoes when coming indoors.
Is Your Child at Risk? Know the Facts.
- If you live in a home that was built prior to 1978
- If your child goes to day care or spends time with a relative in a home built prior to 1978
- If you moved to an older building since your child’s last blood lead test
- If your child spends time with an adult whose job or hobby exposes them to lead
- If your child receives benefits from Medicaid, WIC or Head Start and a lead test is not done, a test is required
NH Senate Bill 247: The Lead Law
Senate Billl 247 (SB247) made NH a universal lead testing state as of April 9, 2018. This means all medical providers must perform a blood lead level (BLL) test for all 1 and 2 year olds. Ask your child’s health care provider to perform a blood lead test for any child aged 1 or 2 years old, and for children aged 3 to 6 years old who have not previously been tested. SB247 requires insurance companies and Medicaid to cover the cost of blood lead testing.
To find out if your child has been exposed to lead, contact your healthcare provider or the Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services to have them tested. Check our mobile outreach page to see outreach times and locations for lead testing.