Tobacco Smoke and Lead Poisoning

Tobacco smoke contains lead, a poisonous metal that can damage the nervous system and cause brain disorders. Children and adults who are exposed to secondhand smoke have higher levels of lead in their blood. Lead can also enter children’s bodies when they put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust into their mouths.

Lead poisoning is too common for children in St. Louis. For young children, the rate of lead poisoning in St. Louis is about two times higher than the U.S. average.

Lead poisoning can affect nearly every part of the body. In children, some of the specific effects of lead poisoning include:

  • Learning disabilities
  • Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
  • Aggressive and violent behavior
  • Hearing loss
  • Convulsions
  • Less motor control/problems with balance
  • Mental retardation
  • Death

To get your child tested for lead poisoning, contact Lead Safe St. Louis at (314) 259-3455 or by visiting