Lead is a highly toxic substance that can produce adverse effects on nearly all organ systems in the body. There are many ways in which humans are exposed to lead: through deteriorating paint, household dust, bare soil, drinking water, air, food, hair dyes and other cosmetics (NSC 2009). Lead-based paint, which was banned from residential use in 1978, is the main source of lead poisoning in Iowa.
Both children and adults can become lead poisoned but childhood lead poisoning is more common. Childhood lead poisoning has significant effects on the health of children and on community health. It is especially harmful to the developing brains and nervous systems of children under the age of six years.