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Lead Poisoning Prevention

In Boston, lead is most commonly found in paint of homes built before 1978. However, it can also be found in service lines that connect your home to the Boston water pipes.

What is lead poisoning?

Lead is a heavy metal. Exposure to lead can affect children’s short-term and long-term health and development. When there is too much lead in the body, it is called lead poisoning.

Lead can be found in many different places:

  • Paint: In Boston, lead is most commonly found in the paint of homes built before 1978.
  • Water service lines: Lead can also be found in the service line that connects your home to the Boston Water and Sewer Commission network. Per BWSC, Boston’s water is safe, but lead may be present because of corrosion of your home’s lead service line. Click here to see whether you have a lead service line at your home.
  • Consumer products: Consumer products like toys, toy jewelry, and folk medicines can contain lead.
  • Soil: Soil can contain lead, too, especially if the buildings nearby are painted with lead paint.

Children and lead

  • The Center For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says there is no safe level of lead in a child’s body. Recently, the CDC reduced the reference value from 5 to 3.5 micrograms per deciLiter of lead in a child blood’s where intervention should begin
  • Children are most at risk for lead poisoning because their bodies are smaller and still developing
  • Lead poisoning is serious but preventable
  • It can affect child development and can cause speech, hearing, learning, and behavior problems


To prevent and address lead poisoning in Boston, we:

  • Provide free replacements for homes that have lead service pipes. Click here to learn more or call BWSC's lead hotline at 617-989-7888. 
  • Enforce the Deleading and Lead Safe Renovation Regulations (RRP Rule) in the City of Boston on home renovation work by owners and contractors
  • Conduct inspections and enforce the Massachusetts Lead Law in homes where a child has lead poisoning
  • Provide home-based case management for those who have a child with lead poisoning and make referrals to other social support services
  • Provide community outreach and education
  • Conduct inspections of homes where property owners or tenants have concerns about lead hazards

Health in All Policies

Recently, with funding from the National Association of County and City Health Officials (NACCHO), we held 4 community meetings to gain feedback on the services available to support lead poisoning prevention. Please read the final report here

Community Meetings Notes

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