- Department of Labor Standards
Media Contact for Learn more about the hazards of lead
William McKinney, Director, Department of Labor Standards
Boston, MA — Lead is poisoning many children and adults around the country. Lead can make you very sick and can even cause death. At low levels of exposure you may feel fine, but lead is still harming you. It can result in cancer and other illnesses.
The primary methods of lead entering the body is through breathing lead dust and ingestion. Ingestion of lead particles is of particular concern for children. Lead-based paint has a sweet taste and if paint chips are within reach of a child he/she will eat these paint chips, thus ingesting lead and become poisoned. Up to 50% of the lead that children and pregnant women swallow is absorbed in the body.
The symptoms may hardly be noticeable at first, but over time lead poisoning can damage your brain, blood cells, nerves, kidneys and reproductive organs. This damage can cause serious disability: memory loss, extreme exhaustion, emotional problems, kidney failure, coma and even death. Lead in your blood is known to have caused mental and learning disorders in children and adults.
Lead poisoning is 100% preventable. If you do any kind of work on houses built before 1978, or work around lead learn how to avoid becoming poisoned at www.mass.gov/leadsafe or call our lead hotline at 617-626-6030.
Learn more about the hazards of lead and how to keep your children safe at www.mass.gov/dph/clppp or by calling 617-624-5757.
The Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS) Lead Program works to reduce the incidence and severity of lead exposures for the Commonwealth's workers and other members of the general public. DLS accomplishes this goal by administering and enforcing standards for renovation, repair and painting carried out in older homes and child-occupied facilities that may contain lead paint as well as for deleading operations. While the program is designed to protect workers it also helps to ensure the safety of homeowners, landlords, and tenants. You can help by ensuring that when work is done on your residence you use a licensed Lead Safe Renovation Contractor or Deleader. Lists of licensed contractors can be found at www.mass.gov/leadsafe.