Lead Poisoning in North Carolina

November 4, 2023

Lead poisoning poses health risks to North Carolinians of all ages. This overview covers lead exposure sources, impacts, and the preventative steps to take

Lead exposure remains a critical public health issue in North Carolina, affecting both adults and children across various environments. From occupational settings to older residential areas, the sources of lead exposure are diverse and pose significant health risks. This comprehensive overview draws from recent findings and recommendations to outline the current state of lead exposure in North Carolina, its health implications, and the preventative measures being taken.

Sources of Lead Exposure in North Carolina

Occupational and Recreational Risks

For adults, the primary source of lead exposure is often related to their occupation, especially in industries that involve handling materials containing lead. Recreational activities, such as target shooting, also pose risks for lead exposure. Additionally, unique sources of lead in the home and community include older plumbing systems, home renovations, and the use of certain consumer goods and folk remedies.

Risks to Children

Children are most commonly exposed to lead through contact with lead-based paint, which is prevalent in homes built before the 1978 ban. Secondary exposure can also occur when adults bring lead residues into the home on their clothing, skin, and shoes. The health effects of lead exposure in children can be more severe and occur at much lower levels than in adults.

Health Effects of Lead Exposure

Lead exposure can lead to a range of acute and chronic health issues in multiple organ systems. In children, it can cause developmental delays, learning disabilities, and behavioral problems. Adults may experience high blood pressure, nerve disorders, memory and concentration problems, and reproductive issues. The seriousness of these health effects underscores the importance of preventing and managing lead exposure.

Preventative Measures and Public Health Initiatives

Lead Testing and Prevention

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services emphasizes the importance of regular testing for lead contamination, especially in private well water. Public health initiatives have significantly reduced child blood lead levels over the past two decades, but exposure sources remain, particularly in lower-income neighborhoods with older housing stock.

Legislative Efforts

North Carolina's lead poisoning prevention laws, such as the update to the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention statute, aim to address and mitigate lead hazards more effectively. These laws focus on reducing acceptable lead levels in children's drinking water and enhancing protections for young children in childcare settings.

Community and Individual Actions

As a long-time real estate agent and Triangle resident, I have seen the effects of lead exposure firsthand in our communities. My 17 years of experience have shown that lead hazards remain far too common in our older housing stock. As the founder of the Tim M. Clarke real estate team, I feel compelled to raise awareness on this important issue.

For homeowners and homebuyers, I strongly recommend testing your home for lead, especially if it was built before 1978. Be proactive in checking paint, dust, soil and water sources. Ensure any renovations or repairs use lead-safe methods. Also, limit bringing lead dust inside by leaving shoes at the door and changing clothes after high-exposure activities like renovations or certain hobbies.

As your real estate advisor, I will provide guidance on lead risks during the home shopping process and facilitate testing. My team stays current on all lead hazard regulations and best practices. Together, we can reduce exposure through smart home selection. I also urge policymakers to continue strengthening lead prevention legislation and public health efforts.

By working together, we can make our North Carolina communities healthier and safer places to live for all residents. Our children deserve to grow up lead-free. Contact my team today to discuss lead risks related to your real estate needs.

Tim M. Clarke

About the author

17 years as a Realtor in the Research Triangle, Tim seeks to transform the Raleigh-Durham real estate scene through a progressive, people-centered approach prioritizing trust & transparency.

Contact Us

Looking to build / buy / sell in the Triangle? Drop us a line.

Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.