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© 1998, The Board of Regents of the University of Nebraska on behalf of the University of Nebraska–Lincoln Extension. All rights reserved.


This NebGuide discusses why young children in Nebraska should be tested for lead poisoning. It explains sources of lead and ways parents can reduce children's exposure to lead.


Lead, a poison that affects virtually every system in the body, is a health issue for parents and caretakers of Nebraska children 6 years old and younger. Small amounts of lead in the body can do serious harm to the developing brain and nervous system of a young child. The risks associated with lead exposure are not assumed or based on laboratory animals, but documented from the studies of children themselves.

More children in Nebraska could be affected by lead poisoning than people realize. Before lead-based paint for household use was banned by the Consumer Product Safety Commission, it was used to cover household surfaces both inside and out.

Lead-based paint wasn't banned for household use until 1978. Seventy percent of all houses in Nebraska were built before that year. Close to 40 percent were built before 1950, when about half of all paint contained large amounts of lead.