In Pennsylvania, the main source of lead poisoning is lead-based paint. This type of paint was not banned for residential use until 1978, and Pennsylvania ranks fifth in the country for old housing, with 70 percent of residential units having been built prior to 1980. Chester homes date back as early as the 20s. This high potential for lead exposure has a significant impact on the children in our state, and disproportionately impacts children of color and those in low-income families.

New JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association)research reached a similar conclusion, finding that “children living at or below the poverty line in older housing or in communities with high concentrations of poverty are at the greatest risk of the toxic effects of lead.” JAMA also found that children with public health insurance like Medicaid were nearly twice as likely to have detectable blood lead levels as children with private health insurance.

One study found that, as blood lead levels increased, so did the risk of being arrested for a violent crime in young adulthood. Children who experience prenatal exposure to lead committed an average of two more delinquent acts as adolescents. Additionally, children who were exposed to lead in early childhood committed, on average, nearly five more delinquent acts as adolescents than their peers who were not exposed to lead as children.

As of 2019, Pennsylvania had the second- highest number of children who tested positive for lead poisoning in the United States. Of the ten states with the highest rates of lead poisoning, Pennsylvania ranked second-worst for testing children.

As it gets colder and children are spending more time indoors, now is the time to get the message out to families about the importance of getting your home and child tested for lead.

Our hope is the new Delaware County Health Department will find a way to bring lead testings back to Chester children so we can benchmark the degree to which we’re exposed. 

For now, Get Your Home Tested for Lead

o   Delaware County Lead Remediation Programs:

o   Lead Free Promise Project:

o   Lead Exposure and ADHD: