Lead Program

Lead Testing Graphic - Testing at 1 and 2 is what we do

About Our Program

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.

  1. Katie Hatcher

    Public Health Nurse

Lead Information

What is Lead Poisoning?

Lead is a highly toxic. Lead poisoning occurs when too much lead gets into the body through the skin, breathing, eating, or drinking, and builds up, usually over a course of months or years. High levels of lead in the body can harm the brain, damage speech and hearing, and result in learning and behavior problems. 

Sources of Lead 

Evidence shows that the most common source of lead exposure for children today is lead paint in older housing. New Hampshire has the oldest housing of anywhere in the United States. Children in our region are at particular risk, since over 50% of the homes in Greater Nashua were built before lead paint was banned in 1978. As these houses age, lead paint cracks and chips, resulting in dangerous lead chips and dust, which can be poisonous to anybody, especially children. Additional sources of lead include:

  • Soil
  • 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

Who is at Risk?

All children are at risk for lead poisoning. Children aged six and younger are at highest risk for lead poisoning because they can absorb lead more easily than older kids and adults, and lead is more harmful to them. There is no safe blood lead level in children, even low levels of lead are harmful. Low levels are associated with decreased intelligence, behavior problems, reduced physical stature and growth, and impaired hearing. 

Your child may be at increased risk for lead poisoning if:

  • They live in a home that was built prior to 1978
  • They attend day care or spend time with a relative(s) in a home built prior to 1978
  • They moved to an older building since their last blood lead test
  • They spend time with an adult whose job or hobby exposes them to lead
  • You receive benefits from Medicaid, WIC, or Head Start, and a lead test has not been done

Lead Testing

Blood lead level testing is an important part the health and safety of our children. Senate Bill 247 (SB247) made New Hampshire a universal lead testing state, requiring all medical providers to perform a blood lead level test for all children 1 and 2 years of age. Ask your child’s health care provider to perform a blood lead test if your child is 1 or 2 years of age, or is 3 to 6 years of age and has not previously been tested or is at high risk. SB247 requires insurance companies and Medicaid to cover the cost of blood lead testing.

We also provide child lead testing for the Greater Nashua Region. 

  • Tuesdays / 4 - 7 p.m. / 18 Mulberry Street, Nashua, NH / By Appointment: 603-589-4500, #2
  • Fridays / 9 a.m. - 12 p.m. / 18 Mulberry Street, Nashua, NH / By Appointment: 603-589-4500, #2

Prevention Tips

  • 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