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Public Health - Seattle & King County

What is the risk to human health?

Lead and arsenic can harm your health. You may be exposed by accidentally swallowing or breathing in contaminated soil. Young children under the age of 6 are especially at risk because they put hands and toys in their mouths, and because their small bodies are still growing and developing.

Arsenic may cause cancer later on in life and may also contribute to heart disease, diabetes, and other health problems.

Lead can cause developmental delays, decreased IQ, and behavioral problems in children.

What can I do to protect my family's health?

There are many things you can do now to help protect your family's health.

BE DIRT ALERT! Here are some simple healthy actions:

  • Leave your shoes at the door.

  • Wash your hands with plenty of soap and water. Use a nail brush.

  • Keep pets clean. Wipe off dirt and mud before your pet comes into your house.

  • Mop, damp-dusting, and vacuum to minimize dust and dirt in your home.

  • Maintain your home and yard. Cover bare patches in your yard with ground cover.

  • Eat a healthy diet. Iron, calcium, and vitamin C help to decrease absorption of lead.

  • Wash fruits and vegetables to make sure all dirt is removed.

Download a brochure that shows healthy actions—simple things you and your family can do to reduce contact with arsenic and lead in the dirt:

Posters are also available in English, Amharic, Cambodian, Chinese, Korean, Russian, Somali, Spanish, and Vietnamese.