Mississippi State Department of Health

Lead Poisoning Prevention


Lead poisoning is one of the most preventable environmental health problems in young children. High levels of lead can harm the brain, interfere with growth, cause learning difficulties, and may cause death.

On this page

Sources of Lead

Children can be exposed to lead from any of the sources below. Children are at higher risk of lead exposure if they frequent older homes that contain lead in pipes, mini-blinds, or that have chipping and peeling paint.

Possible sources of lead are:

  • Soil and dust
  • Tap water
  • Glazed pottery
  • Electrical cords
  • Garden hoses
  • Lead-based paint
  • Keys
  • Batteries
  • Imported canned foods
  • Imported spices, candies and herbal medicines
  • Metal jewelry
  • Outside water faucets

Signs & Symptoms

Lead poisoning may occur without any signs or symptoms.

It can take a long time for symptoms of lead poisoning to appear. Your child may be at risk long before you see any effects. Some signs to look for are:

  • Learning problems
  • Nausea
  • Growth failure
  • Behavior disorder
  • Unexplained seizures
  • Irritability
  • Developmental delay
  • Hearing loss
  • Frequent tiredness

7 Ways to Reduce Lead Risk

What's in that bottle?

Some spices used in cooking, herbal medicine, or as coloring for candies can contain lead. When purchasing these items, especially online, be sure you are getting safe products from trusted sources.

Having Your Home Inspected

A certified lead inspector can determine whether your home has lead in or around it. The Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality maintains a list of certified inspectors.


How a family in Ohio was affected by lead after renovations in their house.

If you have an older home that may contain lead-based paint, this program for Hattiesburg residents can help with the cost of removing the old paint and repainting.

Contact: Demetria Farve, 601-554-1006, leadsafe@hattiesburgms.com


How Lead Affects Children, and How to Be Tested

Families and Lead Exposure

More Videos


Lead and Healthy Homes Resources




Healthy Homes


To learn more about the risks of lead or to arrange a lead screening, contact your primary care provider or call the Mississippi Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes Program at (601) 576-7447.

For more information about Maternal and Child Health Programs and the MCH Block Grant, call 1-800-721-7222.

Links referenced on this page
Reports: Mississippi data    http://msdh.ms.gov/page/41,0,176,63.html ok
list of certified lead inspectors    https://opcgis.deq.state.ms.us/ensearchonline/mississippi-lead-based-paint-certifications.aspx
What you need to know    https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/prevention/sources/foods-cosmetics-medicines.htm
Certified lead inspectors    https://opcgis.deq.state.ms.us/ensearchonline/mississippi-lead-based-paint-certifications.aspx
One family's experience with lead    https://nchh.org/resource-library/Testimonial_Cantley.pdf
Learn more    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,19322,176,pdf/LeadSafeHattiesburg.pdf
leadsafe@hattiesburgms.com    mailto:leadsafe@hattiesburgms.com
More Videos    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,25824,176,html ok
Mississippi lead surveillance reports    http://msdh.ms.gov/page/41,0,176,63.html ok
Quick Guide for Lead Poisoning Prevention, Clinical Evaluation, and Management    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/19264.pdf
Pregnant? Lead Poisoning Prevention Starts Now (CDC)    https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/docs/are-you-pregnant.html
Lead and a Healthy Diet: What You Can Do to Protect Your Child    https://www.epa.gov/sites/default/files/2020-01/documents/fight_lead_poisoning_with_a_healthy_diet_2019.pdf
Questions and Answers About Lead in the Home    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,11602,176,html ok
Combata el Envenenamiento con Plomo con una Dieta Saludable    https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/nutritionsp.pdf
Avoiding Take-Home Lead Exposure    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/11589.pdf
Fact sheets, brochures and educational materials    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,0,176,92,html ok
Lead-Free Mississippi: Resources and information for Mississippians    https://www.leadfreems.org/
Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Lead Poisoning Information    http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/
All Children Can Be Exposed to Lead (CDC)    https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/docs/all-children-can-be-exposed-to-lead.html
Lead Poisoning Prevention from the EPA    http://www.epa.gov/lead
Lead-Based Paint Visual Assessment Training (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)    http://www.hud.gov/offices/lead/training/visualassessment/h00101.htm
Video: How to test children for lead with maximum accuracy (CDC)    https://youtu.be/g2p2qREch9g
MSDH Lead Poisoning Prevention and Healthy Homes Program    http://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/44,0,360,html ok
National Center for Healthy Housing    http://nchh.org/
Healthy Homes (U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development)    https://www.hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes

Resources referenced
Learn more    https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/index.cfm/41,19322,176,pdf/LeadSafeHattiesburg.pdf ok
Quick Guide for Lead Poisoning Prevention, Clinical Evaluation, and Management    https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/19264.pdf ok
Avoiding Take-Home Lead Exposure    https://msdh.ms.gov/msdhsite/_static/resources/11589.pdf ok

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