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Resources: Concerned about lead poisoning?

Marissa Ortega-Welch
Antonio Godinez runs through the halls of Highland Hospital before getting a blood lead test.

Concerned about lead? Resources vary by city and county, but here are a few starting points.

Testing your child’s blood for lead

If you have private insurance or Medi-Cal, ask your primary care provider. All health insurance plans are required to pay for the blood lead test.

If you are uninsured, contact your local county health system to enroll in a county health care program.

For more information, contact your local Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.

Here is a list of the programs in California by city and county.

Lead paint in your home

If your home was built before 1978, it might have lead paint.

You can have your home tested for lead by hiring a lead-certified inspector or by sending in paint samples to a labto be tested.

Local public health departments may provide free testing and repairs for low-income homeowners and landlords who rent to low-income tenants who young children staying in the home. Contact your local public health department to learn more.

For San Francisco, contact the Mayor’s Office of Housing and Community Development’s Lead Hazard Remediation Program (not currently accepting applications).

For Alameda County, contact the Healthy Homes Department Lead Hazard Repair Program.

Lead in home drinking water

All water utility districts test for lead in drinking water and monitor pipes for lead. Contact your local water district, like the SFPUC or EBMUD, to learn more.

Lead can still be found in home pipes and fixtures. You can hire a certified inspector to test your home drinking water.

San Francisco residents can apply for a low-cost home water lead testhere. For WIC-enrolled families, the test is free.

East Bay residents can use this voucher for a free home water lead test.

Lead in school drinking water

For public schools, check with your local school district. For private and parochial schools, check with the individual school. All California K-12 public schools are now required to test for lead in drinking water by July 2019.

For Oakland Unified School District, check here for the latest lead test results and action plans.

For San Francisco Unified School District, check here for the latest lead test results and action plans. You can also check the highest lead levels detected at each school on CALPIRG's Get Out The Lead Map.

What household products have lead in them?

Some toys, make-up, food, and containers and other household items can have lead.

Angela Johnston is the Senior Producer of Uncuffed and an editor in the KALW newsroom. She holds a Master’s degree in journalism and graduated from KALW’s Audio Academy program. She’s worked for KALW in numerous roles - from the deputy news director, to the health and environment reporter, and she's covered everything from lead poisoning to climate change. Her work has aired on KALW, KQED, Reveal, and The Pulse. She also freelances as a producer and editor for Cosmic Standard and AFAR Media. Outside of work, she loves to swim in the bay, surf small waves on her longboard, read, backpack, cook, and garden.