If your home was built before 1978, it could contain lead-based paint. The older your home is, the greater the chances of having lead-based paint or high levels of lead dust.
Lead is a toxic metal and lead poisoning is caused by the presence of lead in the body. Lead paint is the primary source of lead poisoning.
Lead paint that is in poor condition and peeling, crackled, chipping, chalking or applied to friction and impact surfaces (such as windows and doors) creates lead dust. Lead dust is hard to see; it can be found on window sills, window troughs, and floors. Lead paint and dust cause serious health issues for small children and pregnant women.
There is no known safe level of lead to have in the body but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has identified five micrograms per deciliter (5mcg/dl) as the level of concern.
Exposure to lead can cause, learning and behavioral problems, problems with speech, language and hearing, damage to organs, damage to the central nervous system, and at very high levels seizures, coma, and even death. Adult lead poisoning can also cause other health and reproductive problems.
There is no cure for lead poisoning but medical treatment can lower the level of lead in the blood. The best way to address childhood lead poisoning is to prevent children from being exposed to lead hazards.