Childhood lead poisoning associated with lead dust contamination of family vehicles and child safety seats - Maine, 2008

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2009 Aug 21;58(32):890-3.


Persons employed in high-risk lead-related occupations can transport lead dust home from a worksite through clothing, shoes, tools, or vehicles. During 2008, the Maine Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (MCLPPP) identified 55 new cases of elevated (>or=15 microg/dL) venous blood lead levels (BLLs) among children aged <6 years through mandated routine screening. Although 90% of childhood lead poisoning cases in Maine during 2003-2007 had been linked to lead hazards in the child's home, no lead-based paint or dust or water with elevated lead levels were found inside the homes associated with six of the 2008 cases (i.e., five families, including one family with two affected siblings). An expanded environmental investigation determined that these six children were exposed to lead dust in the family vehicles and in child safety seats. The sources of the lead dust were likely household contacts who worked in high-risk lead exposure occupations. Current recommendations for identifying and reducing risk from take-home lead poisoning include 1) ensuring that children with elevated BLLs are identified through targeted blood lead testing, 2) directing prevention activities to at-risk workers and employers, and 3) improving employer safety protocols. State and federal prevention programs also should consider, when appropriate, expanded environmental lead dust testing to include vehicles and child safety seats.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Dust
  • Employment
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Epidemiological Monitoring
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant Equipment
  • Lead / analysis*
  • Lead / blood
  • Lead Poisoning / epidemiology*
  • Lead Poisoning / etiology
  • Maine / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Motor Vehicles


  • Dust
  • Lead