Old toys are also a risk, especially if they have peeling paint.
Swallowing a toy with high lead levels can be very dangerous. Several kids have become gravely ill as a result.
What You Can Do: It's hard to be absolutely sure if a toy has lead in it or not. Start by checking www.recalls.gov to see if a specific toy has been recalled.
Be wary of cheaper toys -- like those from vending machines or street fairs -- and especially plastic jewelry. If you notice that your child is putting a toy in her mouth frequently and you're not absolutely sure it's lead-free, take it away. To lower the risks of poisoning, make sure that your child is playing with age-appropriate toys that he's not at risk of swallowing.
Don’t let your kids play with older toys if you don't know they're lead-free. That can mean declining hand-me-downs and toys purchased at garage sales or thrift stores. Remove any toy with chipped paint.
The safest choices for toys are unpainted wood, stuffed animals, and books.
Lead in Water Pipes
10%-20% of childhood lead poisoning is caused by contaminated drinking water. It might not surprise you that old plumbing -- especially from 1930 or earlier -- can contain lead. Some pipes were actually made of lead, and brass fixtures can also contain some lead.
Here's what is surprising: pipes in very new homes are potentially a greater risk for lead. Some plumbers still use lead solder to join copper pipes, which exposes the water directly to lead. The risk is highest in houses that are less than five years old; after that, mineral deposits build up in the pipes that insulate the water from the lead in the solder. According to the EPA, you should assume that any building less than five years old has lead-contaminated water.
Private wells can also be contaminated by lead in pump components or the well seal. Although pipes inside a home are usually the source of lead poisoning, sometimes lead comes from old pipes in the street that supply the water to your home.