Lead Program

picture for website
  1. Community Health Department

    Phone: 603-589-4500
    Fax: 603-594-3323


About the Program

The Greater Nashua Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is a resource that provides support to the community by offering education, blood lead level testing, and case management. The goal is to raise awareness of lead hazards and provide access to lead poisoning prevention resources. We hope to eliminate childhood lead poisoning through partnerships, community-based education, and advocacy.

Dangers of Lead

No safe blood lead level in children have been identified.

Evidence shows that the most common source of lead exposure for children today is lead paint in older housing and the contaminated dust and soil it generates. New Hampshire has the oldest housing of anywhere in the United States with 62% of its homes built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978.

Lead poisoning happens when lead gets into the body from breathing, eating, or drinking. Children are at higher risk because their bodies absorb more lead. Lead can damage their brain and/or organs. 

Lead is highly toxic and affects virtually every system of the body. It can damage a child’s kidneys and central nervous system and cause anemia. At very high levels, lead can cause coma, convulsions, and death. Even low levels of lead are harmful. Low levels are associated with decreased intelligence, behavior problems, reduced physical stature and growth, and impaired hearing.

Sources of Lead 

  • Paint (and associated dust) pre 1978 ban
  • Soil
  • Drinking water 
  • Folk medicines and cosmetics 
  • Children’s costume jewelry, masks, and imported toys
  • Workplace (construction, fuse of firearms, painting and refinishing, scrap metal, manufacturing, plumbing, welding, and more)
  • Hobbies (fire arms, stained glass, fishing with sinkers and jig heads, pottery, furniture refinishing, and more)
  • Imported candies and spices 
  • Lead-glazed ceramics, china, leaded crystal, and pewter

Prevention 

  • Wash children’s hands after playing and before eating.
  • Wash bottles, pacifiers, play spaces, and toys often with warm, soapy water.
  • If needed, talk to your landlord about fixing surfaces with peeling or chipping paint.
  • Clean floors, window sills, and other surfaces with a wet mop or cloth often. 
  • Make sure children eat low-fat foods high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C. 
  • Remove your shoes when coming indoors.

Is Your Child at Risk?

Your child may be at increased risk for lead poisoning if:

  • They live in a home that was built prior to 1978
  • They attend day care or spend time with a relative(s) in a home built prior to 1978
  • They moved to an older building since their last blood lead test
  • They spend time with an adult whose job or hobby exposes them to lead
  • You receive benefits from Medicaid, WIC, or Head Start, and a lead test has not been done

Lead Testing

Senate Bill 247 (SB247) made New Hampshire a universal lead testing state as of April 9, 2018. This means all medical providers must perform a blood lead level (BLL) test for all children 1 and 2 yeas of age. Ask your child’s health care provider to perform a blood lead test if your child is 1 or 2 years of age, or is aged 3 to 6 and has not previously been testing. SB247 requires insurance companies and Medicaid to cover the cost of blood lead testing.

To find out if your child has been exposed to lead, contact your healthcare provider or the Nashua Division of Public Health and Community Services to have them tested. Visit our mobile outreach services page to view times and locations for lead testing, or call 603-589-4500.