Lead poisoning in children – What are the risks?

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Lead poisoning in children – What are the risks?

Young children are particularly vulnerable to lead poising as they absorb approximately 4-5 times more lead from a given source compared to adults. Due to the curiosity of children and their hand-to-mouth behavior, they will likely be more susceptible to ingesting any contaminants that are present in your Sydney home.

If your Sydney home was built prior to the 1980’s there is a strong possibility that lead is present in one form or another.


Lead poisoning can have devastating effects on children as it targets the brain and central nervous system. Because children’s brains are in a growing phase, poisoning can severely damage the ability for child’s brain to properly develop. In very high lead poisoning cases, children can have permanent mental retardation or even death. In lower exposure concentrations, poising can cause a spectrum of injuries such as reduced brain development, lower IQ, behavioral changes such as reduced attention span and antisocial behavior.


Unfortunately, there is no safe level of blood lead concentration. Even once thought to be safe levels of lead concentration are now associated with reduced intelligence in children, behavioral difficulties, and learning problems.


As mentioned before, if your Sydney home was built prior to the 1980’s there is a high possibility that lead is present.

First and foremost you need to establish where the lead is present. Getting a inspection on your property for the presence of lead is essential. This is done in the form of a hazardous materials survey which identifies asbestos and lead in the home. From there you can make the precautions to minimise the risks of contact and poisoning.

Some way you can reduce your exposure in the meantime is by doing the following:

  • wash your children’s hands regualrly
  • Wash family pets and any toys they come in contact with
  • Wash and mop floors to reduce excess dust build up
  • Remove imported toys that have been recalled

There is an abundance of great information on lead in your Sydney household or workplace. Further information can be found on the NSW Health website.

Below is a cautionary tale of lead exposure in Mt Isa.

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