Health Department

The most common cause is lead dust that children breathe in or suck off of their hands and fingers.  Most homes built before 1978 contain some lead.  Homes built before 1950 contain a high level of lead. 

Lead dust comes from:

  • Window wells
  • Floors
  • Renovation or remodeling of lead painted surfaces
  • Soil

Other causes of lead poisoning include:

  • Eating paint chips
  • Chewing on painted surfaces

How is the lead test done?

  • A simple blood test:
  • Fingerstick or
  • Venous blood test (in the arm)

If the fingerstick result comes back high, you will be asked to have a venous blood test done.

What is a normal result?

  • A test result less than 5mcg/dl is considered normal.

What if my child has lead poisoning?

  • Your medical provider willdiscuss the results, treatment, and follow-up testing with you.
  • Contact the Erie Redevelopment Authority at: to find out ways to reduce lead hazards in your home.

What can I do to help my lead poisoned child?

  • Wash your child's hands and toys often.
  • Damp mop and dust twice a week using dishwasher detergent mixed with water.
  • Use cold tap water, not hot, for cooking and making infant formula.  Let the water run for 1 to 2 minutes before using it.
  • Don't let your child play in the dirt, especially next to the house or garage.  Get a sandbox.
  • Keep your child away from windowsills and peeling paint.
  • Provide foods high in iron and calcium.  Cut down on fried and fatty foods.
  • Provide frequent, healthy snacks.

Want to Learn More?

Call the Pennsylvania Department of Health toll-free Lead Information Line (1-800-440-LEAD)

Erie County Courthouse - 140 West Sixth Street, Erie, PA 16501 - (814) 451-6000 - TDD Phone: (814) 451-6237 - Hours: Monday through Friday, 8:00am to 4:30pm
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