How can I protect myself from lead?
If you live in a home built before 1978:
- Wash toys and flat surfaces – like windowsills and tables – using soapy water. Follow these safe lead cleaning tips for lead paint chips and dust.
- Take your shoes off before going into your home to avoid tracking lead-containing soil and dust from outside.
- Vacuum with a High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtered vacuum.
- Eat healthy foods with calcium, iron, and vitamin C to limit the amount of lead getting into your body.
- Always wash your hands before eating to keep from accidentally swallowing lead dust.
- Grow fruits and vegetables in raised beds.
- Keep paint in good repair; fix chipping or cracked paint right away, and consider hiring a certified lead professional to test your home and help with home repairs and renovation in houses built before 1978.
- Visit the Paint & Dust page to learn more.
If you’re worried about lead in your drinking water:
- Use an NSF-certified filter and only use cold water for drinking or cooking.
- Run your water before using it for drinking or cooking (also called flushing your lines).
- Visit the Drinking Water page to learn more.
If you have a job or hobby that uses lead:
Wear the right protective equipment.
Wash your clothes separately from other laundry. After washing lead-contaminated clothing and removing them from the machine, run the rinse cycle once before using the washing machine again.
If you use imported goods or foods:
- Pay attention to recalls that are caused by lead.
- Throw away any recalled household items or food.
- Visit the Household Items & Imported Goods page to learn more.