Lead Prevention

Homes/buildings that were built before 1978 may contain lead-based products. Lead is a metal found naturally in the earth’s surface. Lead can also be produced from burning fossil fuels, manufacturing and mining. Lead is used to produce many items such as batteries, pipes and metal parts for machinery. Because of health concerns, its use has been discontinued in many products such as paint, fuel and kitchenware.

Lead in Drinking Water

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) [external link] reports the major source of lead exposure for children in the U.S. is lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust found in deteriorating buildings. However, lead levels can still be present in drinking water. The most common source of lead in drinking water is from leaching household plumbing. Drinking water with more than 15 ppb of lead over long periods of time can cause health effects.

Lead Exposure in Children

Jefferson County Public Health recommends that anyone who has questions or concerns regarding a child’s exposure to lead please contact their primary doctor to set up an appointment for a lead exposure screening. If you are unable to schedule an appointment with your primary healthcare provider, call Jefferson County Public Health (303-232-6301) for resources in our community.

In addition, because lead exposure can come from many environmental sources, parents are reminded that providing children with healthy foods high in calcium, iron and vitamin C may help keep lead out of the body. Calcium is in milk, yogurt, cheese and green, leafy vegetables like spinach. Iron is in lean red meats, beans, peanut butter and cereals. Vitamin C can be found in oranges, green and red peppers and juice. You may also find information on lead in drinking water on the Environmental Protection Agency website [external link].

Child Care and School Health 

JCPH has been approved to be part of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) grant program for childcare and school health and safety programs for lead prevention [external link]. The Water Quality Control Division of CDPHE has been awarded funding under the Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) Act to test for lead in drinking water in eligible schools and childcare facilities. The JCPH Environmental Health Services(EHS) programs protect public health by conducting inspections of public and private schools, childcare operations and other institutions that serve children and by promoting compliance with applicable state regulations through education and enforcement.

As part of this program, JCPH will work with CDPHE and facilities that apply to complete the following: 

  • Use the Rules and Regulations Governing Schools in the State of Colorado (PDF) [external link] to evaluate all schools Kindergarten through grade 12. Areas inspected include condition of general grounds, safety of water supply, proper sewage and refuse disposal, control of insects/rodents/classroom animals, plumbing, safety of equipment and supplies, food service, lab/art/vocational hazards, health services, and proper operation of mechanical systems.
  • Review construction plans and inspect new or extensively remodeled institutional operations. 
  • Conduct illness outbreak investigations and follow up on public complaints.

JCPH will be able to provide assistance and test the drinking water for lead for Child Care facilities.

Register for free lead testing [external link].