Lead Poisoning

The Laboratory Services Division of Mahoning County Public Health's lead testing is accredited under the American Association for Laboratory Accreditation (A2LA), and is certified within the State of Ohio by the Ohio Department of Health.

The laboratory provides lead analysis for programs such as the Mahoning County Lead Hazard Control Program.  In addition, the laboratory provides services to other local health departments and contractors.

By providing certified lead testing for local agencies, the Laboratory Services Division is helping in the fight to reduct lead hazards in our area.


Lead Paint

Lead paint was used in homes until it was banned in 1978. Lead made the paint last longer and the color brighter. You’ll find lead paint on surfaces such as windows, walls, ceilings, doorframes, baseboards, stairs, porches, and the exterior of the house. Children under the age of six are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can result in learning problems, behavioral problems, hyperactivity, hearing loss, and a lowered attention span. But there are things you can do to keep your family safe:

  • Watch out for chipping and peeling paint
  • Gently wipe windowsills, floors, porches, and other areas where children play using wet cleaning methods (single use disposable wipes or towels) or using a HEPA vacuum
  • Don't disturb peeling or cracked paint and never sand, scrape, or burn any paint that you think might be lead paint
  • Keep a good coat of latex paint over top of older paint so that kids children can’t have access to the older paint
  • Make sure any contractors you hire are EPA and Ohio certified Lead Safe Renovators

Lead Risk Assessors and Lead Abatement Contractors for hire click here.

If you are a homeowner performing renovation, repair, or painting work in your own home, EPA's RRP rule does not cover your project. However, you have the ultimate responsibility for the safety of your family or children in your care. If you are living in a pre-1978 home and planning to do painting or repairs, please read a copy of EPA's Renovate Right: Important Lead Hazard Information for Families, Child Care Providers, and Schools lead hazard information pamphlet. Property owners who renovate, repair, or prepare surfaces for painting in pre-1978 rental housing or space rented by child-care facilities must, before beginning work, provide tenants with a copy of EPA's lead hazard information pamphlet as well.

To learn more about how to protect your family from lead in your home, click here.

Childhood Lead Poisoning

Childhood lead poisoning is the most common and preventable environmental illness in the United States. When lead enters the blood stream, the toxic substance can have harmful effects on the developing brain of a child. While most children will have no symptoms when they have lead poisoning, low levels of lead can cause learning disabilities, hyperactivity and behavioral problems. High levels can lead to coma, convulsions and even death.

Sources of lead poisoning include:

  • Old painted surfaces, paint chips and dust
  • Bare soil along drip lines of homes
  • Antique artifacts with lead-based paint
  • Certain occupations/hobbies dealing with paint (pottery, auto repair, etc.)
  • Contaminated drinking water
  • Certain folk or home remedies, cosmetics, toys and jewelry
  • Remodeling of older homes containing lead-based paint
  • Foreign-manufactured products
  • Occupations dealing with lead

Children become poisoned after inhaling lead particles or frequent hand-to-mouth activity. Since symptoms rarely show, the only way to confirm if a child has lead poisoning is through a blood test. Children six years old and younger are at greatest risk for lead poisoning and should be tested. Testing is mandatory at 12 and 24 months for all Medicaid recipients, children residing in high-risk ZIP code areas and children with any additional risk factors. A parent or guardian must be present for consent. If you suspect your child may be at risk from these environmental hazards, ask your Doctor about a blood lead test.


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