Texas Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (TXCLPPP)
The Texas Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (TXCLPPP) maintains a surveillance system of blood lead results on children younger than 15 years of age. Texas law requires reporting of blood lead tests, elevated and non-elevated, for children 14 years or younger. Physicians, laboratories, hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare facilities must report all blood lead tests to the Texas Child Lead Registry.
Frequently Asked Questions
Lead is a toxic element found in the Earth. Unlike minerals and vitamins, lead serves no nutritional purpose in our bodies. Lead can be in the air, food, water, and soil. Lead can also be in many consumer products, such as glassware, jewelry, toys and cosmetics Lead poisoning can disrupt important developmental milestones in children. It is important to test for lead because lead poisoning often shows no severe symptoms early on. Often, symptoms related to lead poisoning are confused with symptoms of other illnesses and conditions. Some symptoms of lead poisoning in children include:
- Belly pain
- Hearing loss
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Trouble concentrating
- Behavioral problems
Children of all ages are at risk for lead poisoning. However, certain indicators put certain children at more risk.
Elevated blood lead levels can damage the brain and nervous system. This damage affects learning and behavior in children. It can cause serious health effects and slow growth. Lead enters the body by swallowing lead or breathing lead dust. Children under the age of 6 are at greater risk. Their brains are still developing, and their bodies absorb lead at a faster rate.
Lead paint is a common source of exposure for children. Many homes built before 1978, and before 1950, contain lead-based paint. Children are exposed to lead by breathing in lead paint dust or eating paint chips. Children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. Their hands and these objects could be contaminated with lead.
Old paint that is chipping or flaking creates loose paint chips and lead dust. This poses a great risk of lead exposure. This can occur inside and outside the home, and can contaminate soil. Lead can enter drinking water when it passes through plumbing that has lead in the pipes or in soldering.
People living in poverty are more likely to experience higher rates of disease, and live in areas with poor quality housing. Poverty is a risk factor for lead poisoning due to exposure to lead-based paint in the home.
Preventing lead exposure is the first step to keep your child safe. Lead exposure in children primarily comes from inside the home, especially if they live in an older home.
To keep your home clean, follow these tips:
- Always use the wet washing method to clean windows, windowsills, walls and floors.
- Don't use harsh chemicals to clean your home. Soap and water will work, as well as all-purpose cleaners.
- Clean at least once a week.
- Use a vacuum equipped with a HEPA filter. HEPA filters can trap lead dust better than regular vacuums.
Sometimes, lead exposure can occur when you're remodeling or fixing the home. Hire a certified renovator, if you can. Using a certified renovator who is EPA-certified is the surest way to make sure your home will be renovated using lead-safe methods.
If you’re doing the work yourself, follow these tips:
- Make sure to move your family out of the area until the work is completed, or the area is properly cleaned.
- Always wear protective gear such as safety goggles, shoe covers, and respirators equipped with HEPA filters.
- Keep the area you’re working on separated from the rest of the home.
- Always clean up daily.
- Never use abrasive methods when remodeling.
The Texas CLPPP oversees the surveillance of blood lead results of children 14 years of age and younger. Using this data, Texas CLPPP can develop and evaluate current efforts to prevent lead poisoning across the state. Data is used to inform medical and health professionals on testing, reporting, and case management. Data is also used to inform outreach activities and educational materials for parents, educators, and health professionals.
There are local CLPPPs across the state of Texas, who focus on their community's needs when it comes to lead poisoning prevention. Learn more about local CLPPP Programs in Texas.
The Texas CLPPP provides a quarterly newsletter updating health professionals, advocates, and other stakeholders on the work being done in lead poisoning prevention.
In addition, Texas CLPPP works in conjunction with the Texas CLPPP Strategic Planning Committee (SPC), a group of public health professionals, academic experts, and medical professionals dedicated to eliminating lead poisoning among children. If you are interested in joining the SPC, please email TexasBloodLead@dshs.texas.gov.