Lead poisoning has become less common over the past decades, but it still affects thousands of children in Massachusetts and across the nation.
The toxic substance can cause serious damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous system, and red blood cells. It’s particularly harmful to children.
But lead-based paint — which is estimated to remain on the walls of tens millions of homes nationwide despite being banned in 1978 — is believed to be the main source of elevated lead levels in children.
Children can get exposed by ingesting chipping, flaking, and peeling paint, particularly if it is disturbed by remodeling. Exposure can also come from household dust, soil, food, and certain types of pottery, porcelain, and pewter.
The following graphics detail the prevalence of childhood lead poisoning in the US, the state, and Boston: