The Rochester Study: Uncovering the Link Between Lead-Based Paint and Children’s Health


Lead-based paint has long been recognized as a potential health hazard, particularly for young children. A groundbreaking study conducted in Rochester, New York, in the 1990s shed light on the alarming connection between lead-based paint in homes and elevated blood lead levels in children. In this blog post, we’ll delve into the details of the Rochester study and explore its implications for protecting children’s health. 

The Rochester Study: 

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics, involved 205 children between the ages of 12 and 31 months living in Rochester, New York. Researchers set out to investigate the relationship between lead-based paint in homes and children’s blood lead levels. The findings were striking: 

1. 49% of children living in homes with lead-based paint had blood lead levels above the CDC’s recommended limit of 10 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL). 

2. In contrast, only 6% of children living in homes without lead-based paint had elevated blood lead levels. 

3. Children living in homes with lead-based paint were found to be 8 times more likely to have elevated blood lead levels compared to those in homes without lead-based paint. 

The study also revealed that even when lead-based paint was not visibly deteriorating, it still contributed to higher blood lead levels in children. This finding underscores the importance of proactively addressing lead-based paint in homes, regardless of its apparent condition. 

Implications for Children’s Health: 

The Rochester study’s results have significant implications for children’s health. Elevated blood lead levels in children have been associated with a range of adverse health effects, including: 

1. Developmental delays 

2. Learning difficulties 

3. Behavioral problems 

4. Hearing loss 

5. Slowed growth 

These health issues can have long-lasting impacts on a child’s life, affecting their ability to learn, socialize, and thrive. The Rochester study highlights the critical need for preventing lead exposure in children, particularly in homes with lead-based paint. 

Protecting Children from Lead Exposure: 

In light of the Rochester study’s findings, it’s crucial for parents, caregivers, and public health officials to take proactive measures to protect children from lead exposure. Some key steps include: 

1. Testing homes for lead-based paint, especially if built before 1978 

2. Using lead-safe renovation practices when remodeling or repairing homes with lead-based paint 

3. Regularly cleaning surfaces with lead dust removal products, such as Ledizolv, to minimize exposure 

4. Promoting good hygiene habits, like frequent handwashing, to reduce the ingestion of lead dust 

5. Ensuring children receive regular blood lead level screenings, particularly if they live in high-risk areas or homes with lead-based paint 


The Rochester study serves as a powerful reminder of the hidden dangers posed by lead-based paint in homes. By uncovering the strong link between lead-based paint and elevated blood lead levels in children, the study has catalyzed efforts to prevent lead exposure and protect children’s health. As parents, caregivers, and communities, it’s our responsibility to take the necessary steps to create safe, lead-free environments for our children to grow and thrive. Together, we can work towards a future where every child is protected from the harmful effects of lead exposure.