Lead poisoning is the most common environmental illness affecting children. Illinois has higher rates of childhood lead poisoning than any other state in the United States. Elevated lead rates are caused primarily from breathing in contaminated dust from old lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. Secondary sources of lead poisoning come from lead in painted toys, cooking with leaded pottery, eating lead-based paint chips, and toys/toy jewelry. There are a number of laws in Illinois to protect residents from lead poisoning.
How are children exposed to lead? Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in U.S. children. Lead-based paints were banned for use in housing in 1978. All houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of this paint that causes a problem. Approximately 24 million housing units have deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead-contaminated house dust. More than 4 million of these dwellings are homes to one or more young children.
Who is at risk? All children under the age of 6 years old are at risk because they are growing so rapidly and because they tend to put their hands or other objects, which may be contaminated with lead dust, into their mouths. However, children living at or below the poverty line who live in older housing are at greatest risk. Additionally, children of some racial and ethnic groups and those living in older housing are disproportionately affected by lead.
Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The key is stopping children from coming into contact with lead and treating children who have been poisoned by lead. The goal is to prevent lead exposure to children before they are harmed. There are many ways parents can reduce a child’s exposure to lead. Lead hazards in a child’s environment must be identified and controlled or removed safely.
There are a number of programs available to assist Kane County families with lead-based paint hazards. Both homeowners and renters are eligible, but must meet certain income requirements (i.e. household income for a family of four cannot exceed $60,650). Work is based on the results of a risk assessment and is performed by lead-licensed contractors.
The Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program addresses the issues that result when higher levels of lead are found in blood tests of children in Kane County.
Cases are reported, tracked, and referrals for treatment are provided.
The program also provides educational outreach to individuals and the community, to help raise awareness of the causes of childhood lead poisoning.
Blood lead screenings can identify children at risk and allow doctors to provide prompt treatment. Blood lead screenings are available through your medical provider.
Older homes built before 1978 are much more likely to have lead-based paint problems. If you are interested in having your home inspected for lead risks, you should hire a licensed Lead Risk Assessor.
If you have further questions, please email Kane County Health Department firstname.lastname@example.org
Monthly statistics for this program can be found on the Public Health Committee Report Page
Learn about Lead EPA
List of RRP certified contractors
Lead & Renovation Information
Protect Your Family From Lead in the Home
A Landlord’s Guide for Working Safely with Lead
Homeowners’ Lead-based Paint Abatement Guide
Activities to Reduce Lead Exposure
The risk of lead is preventable, if Contractors follow the recommended measures at these links:
Free brochures available through Information Order forms below:
Contractors working on homespaint with lead paint are required to follow the EPA’s Renovation, Repair, and Painting lead law (RRP). RRP provides guidelines for protection against renovation activities that can disturb lead dust such as sanding, cutting and demolition.Resources
2019 Illinois Lead Program and Healthy Homes Annual Surveillance ReportLeadFree Kids Bookmarks - English and SpanishLead Risk Assessors in IllinoisSafe Lead Removal PreventionEPA Lead webpageCDC: Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention ProgramWebinar: Consequences of Childhood Lead Exposure & Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rules
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