ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The New York State Department of Health (DOH) launched an educational campaign to raise awareness of childhood lead exposure. The digital campaign will emphasize ways to keep lead away from children and stress the importance of blood lead tests for kids aged 1 and 2.

According to the DOH, lead can not only harm a young child’s growth, behavior, and ability to learn, but can cause anemia, kidney damage, and hearing loss. Lead can be found in common items around the home such as paint, which in pre-1980 homes was the leading contributor to heightened blood lead levels in children.

The DOH stresses that children under 6 are more susceptible to lead exposure than any other group due to lead commonly found in dust, water, soil, etc. Children are exposed to lead by swallowing dust from old lead paint.

The DOH’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention website offers information on how to protect children, including keeping children away from peeling paint and broken plaster, washing hands often to rinse off any lead dust or dirt, washing toys, using lead-free dishes, and more.

“We know that children can look and feel healthy even when they’ve been exposed to lead, and this is why it’s so important that New Yorkers know how to protect their children,” State Health Commissioner Dr. James McDonald said. “Steps such as keeping them away from peeling paint in older homes and talking with their doctor about testing can keep them safe.”