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Facts about Lead Poisoning
in Contra Costa County

The Contra Costa Lead Poisoning Prevention Project follows all children with elevated blood lead levels of 4.5 micrograms/deciliter or greater. More than 1200 Contra Costa children and youth were identified with elevated blood lead levels between 2007 and 2017. 92% of those children were below age 6. Most were identified through routine screening.

  • 965 children had lead levels between 4.5 and 9.4 micrograms/deciliter
  • 241 children had lead levels of 9.5 micrograms/deciliter or greater

All areas of the County have had children with elevated blood lead levels.

(Data from California Department of Public Health, Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch)

Many sources of lead have been identified in Contra Costa, including:

  • Old lead-based paint and paint dust, especially in houses built before 1950 that are in poor condition or are being repainted or renovated
  • Contaminated soil or household dust
  • Imported and cultural products, including home remedies and cosmetics
  • Imported spices, seasonings and foods
  • Consumer products, such as imported or old dishware, pottery, jewelry and toys
  • Jobs, work done at home, or recreational activities that may cause exposure to lead such as house painting, auto radiator repair, metal salvaging, soldering, and hobbies such as target shooting and glazing ceramics

Most children with lead poisoning do not look or act sick. Parents may not know that a child has been exposed to lead. The only way to know for certain whether your child has lead poisoning is through a blood test for lead. If your child is under 6 years of age, ask the child's medical provider to order a blood test for lead.

Lead poisoning is preventable. Contra Costa residents can call the Contra Costa Lead Poisoning Prevention Project for more information at 925-608-5318.