Preventing Exposure to Lead
The harmful impact of lead exposure is well known and documented. There is no safe blood lead level for people. Lead is especially harmful to young children and pregnant women because of the impact on growth and brain development. Lead in water is most harmful to formula-fed infants. The most important step adults can take is to prevent lead exposure before it occurs.
The Early Learning Council approved new requirements for child care providers to prevent children in their care from being exposed to lead. All state-regulated child care providers must begin testing for lead in their drinking water and sending test results to the Office of Child Care. If the test results come in at or higher than “15 parts per billion (ppb),” the provider must make changes to prevent lead exposure. Providers have until September 30, 2018 to complete testing, submit the results to the Office of Child Care, and put in place any necessary changes.
Contact your local water provider for possible lead testing resources.
Questions about lead testing in child care? Contact the Office of Child Care:
Office of Child Care Lead Hotline
If the test results show a lead level that is at or higher than 15 parts per billion (ppb), the provider must:
- Immediately prevent children from using or consuming the water by removing access to the faucet and supply bottled water for drinking, cooking, and preparing infant formula.
- Submit a plan of action within 60 days of receiving the results to the Office of Child Care to address the lead levels in the faucets or fixtures testing at or higher than 15 parts per billion. The plan must be consistent with the “S. Environmental Protection Agency 3T’s for Reducing Lead in Drinking Water in Schools.” The Office of Child Care will provide more information soon about acceptable options for reducing lead levels.
- Retest the water after making changes or continue to use bottled water only.
Providers must also reduce children’s exposure to lead regardless of results by running faucets 30 seconds to two minutes before using water for drinking, cooking or preparing formula.
Lead Basics Resources
The most prevalent lead hazards in child care facilities are lead-based paint, lead dust and contaminated soil. Renovation, repair and maintenance of older homes and buildings, if not performed correctly, can create hazardous lead dust and debris by disturbing lead-based paint.
Questions about lead? The Multnomah County Health Department LeadLine is a state-wide resource for all Oregonians that provides lead prevention information and referral.
Contact the LeadLine
EPA’s introduction to the 3Ts for schools and child care facilities.
Introducing the 3Ts for reducing lead in drinking Water in schools and child care facilities (PDF)
Eco-Healthy Child Care FAQ on lead in drinking water.
FAQs: Lead in Tap Water (PDF)
Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) comprehensive guide for anyone concerned about the dangers of lead in their home and environment. Learn how to protect your family from lead poisoning.
Lead in Your Home: A Parent’s Reference Guide (PDF)
Oregon Health Authority’s (OHA) brochure with information on the health effects of lead exposure, sources of lead and determine if your child is at risk for lead poisoning.
Lead Poisons Kids (PDF) en español (PDF) bằng tiếng Việt (PDF)
OHA’s guide on how to provide a lead-safe child care environment.
Protecting Kids: A Child Care Provider’s Guide (PDF)