Mark David Richards
Council Period 12
Council Period 13
Council Period 14
Government and People
Anacostia Waterfront Corporation
Boards and Com
Chief Financial Officer
Chief Management Officer
Elections and Ethics
Housing and Community Dev.
Capital Revitalization Corp.
Planning and Econ. Dev.
Planning, Office of
Public Service Commission
Regional Mobility Panel
Sports and Entertainment Com.
University of DC
Water and Sewer Administration
Youth Rehabilitation Services
Issues in DC Politics
DC General, PBC
Public Benefit Corporation
Tax Rev Comm
Term limits repeal
Voting rights, statehood
Williams’s Fundraising Scandals
Cardozo Shaw Neigh.Assoc.
Committee of 100
Fed of Citizens Assocs
League of Women Voters
What Is DCWatch?
Government of the District of Columbia
DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH
James A. Buford, Director
Lead in the District of Columbia Fact Sheet
What Are the Health Effects of Lead?
Lead can pose a significant risk to health if too much of it enters your
body. Even small amounts of lead can be harmful if swallowed or inhaled.
If lead accumulates in the body over many years, it can cause damage to
the brain, red blood cells, and kidneys.
Lead from chipping and flaking paint, if ingested, can cause significant
health impacts especially for small children.
Lead in drinking water, although rarely the sole cause, of lead
poisoning, can significantly increase a person's total lead exposure,
particularly the exposure of infants who drink baby formulas and
concentrated juices that are mixed with water. The EPA estimates that
drinking water can make up 20 percent or more of a person's total
exposure to Lead.
Should My Child Be Screened?
In general, all high-risk children need lead screening. Children, under
the age of 6 may be at high risk if he or she:
- lives in an area that has a high number of older homes (built before 1950),
- lives in or regularly visits a home built before 1950,
- lives in or regularly visits a home built before 1975 that has recently been remodeled,
- has had a brother or sister with lead problems, or
- Resides in an area with reported elevated lead level in water.
What Else Can I Do to Protect My Child?
In your kitchen you can:
- Feed your child a well-balanced diet that's high in
iron, calcium and vitamin C - it helps protect the body against lead.
- Don't store food in open cans.
- Don't use pottery for cooking or serving if you're unsure about its glaze.
- Have your water tested.
WASA and EPA Suggest:
- Draw water for drinking or cooking after other high
water use activities, such as bathing, showering, flushing the toilet,
or washing your clothes, so that a total of at least 10 minutes of
flushing water from your lead service pipes has occurred.
- Flush your kitchen tap for 60 seconds, then collect
drinking water in containers and store them in the refrigerator.
once a month, remove and clean the strainer/aerator device on your
faucet to remove debris.
- Cold water should be used for drinking or cooking, as hot water will contain higher levels
of lead. Cold water should be heated for making hot beverages or cooking, Do not use the water
from the hot water faucet for drinking or cooking.
In your home you can:
Be alert for chipping and flaking paint.
- Use only safe interior paints on toys, walls, furniture, and other items.
- Replace plastic blinds made outside the U.S. with a type that is lead-free.
With your child:
- Don't allow your child to put things in his or her
mouth that may be dirty or have paint on them.
- Keep children from chewing window sills or other
- Don't allow your child to eat snow or icicles.
- Wash children's hands often, especially before they
eat and before nap time and bedtime.
- Keep play areas clean. Wash bottles, pacifiers,
toys, and stuffed animals regularly.
- Make sure children eat nutritious, low-fat meals
high in iron and calcium, such as spinach and dairy products. Children
with good diets absorb less lead.
If you work with lead:
- Don't bring it home with you.
- Shower and change before coming home.
- Wash your clothes separately from your family's clothes.
- Follow all occupational safety guidelines for
cleaning and storing work clothes and equipment.
What You Can Do Now To Protect Your Family
If you suspect that your house has lead hazards, you can take some
immediate steps to reduce your family's risk:
- If you rent, notify your landlord of peeling or
- Clean up paint chips immediately.
- Clean floors, window frames, window sills, and
other surfaces weekly. Use a mop or sponge with warm water and a general
all-purpose cleaner or a cleaner made specifically for lead. REMEMBER:
NEVER MIX AMMONIA AND BLEACH PRODUCTS TOGETHER SINCE THEY CAN FORM A
- Thoroughly rinse sponges and mop heads after
cleaning dirty or dusty areas.
- Clean or remove shoes before entering your home to
avoid tracking in lead from soil.
How Does Lead Enter Our Drinking Water?
Lead is unusual among drinking water contaminants in that it seldom
occurs naturally in water supplies like rivers and lakes. Lead enters
drinking water primarily as a result of the corrosion, or wearing away,
of materials containing lead in the household plumbing and water service
lines. These materials include lead-based solder used to join copper
pipe, brass, and chrome-plated brass faucets, and in some cases, pipes made of
lead that connect your house to the water main (service lines). In 1986,
Congress banned the use of lead solder containing greater than 0.2%
lead, and restricted the lead content of faucets, pipes and other
plumbing materials to 8.0%.
Are There Screening Measures Available?
The level of lead in your child's blood can be measured, and early
detection means early intervention. Measures include:
- A blood test can reveal if there's an elevated
level of lead in your child's blood.
- A second blood test is usually done if a child's
screening shows that lead may be present. X-rays and other tests may be
- Follow-up questions will be asked to learn about
the child's behavior, health, and symptoms; anything the child has
chewed on or swallowed; possible sources of lead; the child's diet;
and/or family medical history.
- Other measures may include home inspection for lead
sources, or counseling about how to protect children.
What Actions Can I Take to Reduce Exposure to Lead in Drinking Water?
Despite our best efforts mentioned earlier to control water corrosivity
and remove lead from the water supply, lead levels in some homes or
buildings can be high. To find out whether you need to take action in
your home, have your drinking water tested to determine if it contains
excessive concentrations of lead. Testing the water is essential because
you cannot see, taste, or smell lead in drinking water.
For More Information Call: