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Lead

Lead is a naturally occurring metal, which can be found throughout the environment in the air, water, soil, dust and even inside our homes. While lead can have some beneficial uses, it can also be toxic to humans and animals. If inhaled or swallowed, lead can build up in the body over time and cause health problems.

It's important to be aware of potential sources of lead exposure, especially for children and people living in older homes. The main sources of lead in South Carolina are related to contaminated soil and dust, and chipping lead-based paint in older houses, particularly those built prior to 1950.  

S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control (DHEC) works with health care providers and public water systems across the state to monitor and help prevent potential lead exposure.

Some of the ways DHEC helps protect South Carolinians from potential lead exposure, include: 

  • Tracking lead exposure rates across the state, and providing information to help educate the public about lead and potential exposure risks.  
  • Reviewing, monitoring and analyzing lead test results for children and providing pediatric clinical direction and investigation guidance.
  • Conducting home assessments for children who may be at high risk of lead exposure.
  • Collaborating with the S.C. Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation to support healthy work environments.
  • Administering and enforcing drinking water quality standards for public water systems and providing testing services for residents on private well water systems.
  • Issuing air quality permits to limit lead emissions from industrial facilities and power plants.