Childhood Lead Screening
Most of the paint manufactured and used before 1978 was lead based. When intact, the lead based paint is not a hazard. But as older homes and buildings deteriorate, cracking and peeling lead based paint can create sources of lead poisoning, which are especially dangerous for pregnant women and children under the age of six.
Since 1993, the Vermilion County Health Department’s Environmental Health Division has enforced the state’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. Once a child, under the age of six, is found to have an elevated blood-lead level, an environmental inspection is initiated of the home or other environments where the child might have been exposed to lead. Once a source of lead poisoning is identified during an environmental inspection, treatment is ordered to prevent further exposure.
Vermilion County is viewed as a high risk area for lead poisoning in children because of the housing age and average income. Low-income housing is the prime source of most lead poisoning in young children. Never attempt to start a remodeling project that will involve disturbing surfaces coated with a potential lead based paint without first researching the proper method for working with lead based paint and the hazards of poisoning from lead.
For more information on how to work safely with lead paint, or on the Lead Poison Prevention program, contact one of the Licensed Lead Risk Assessors.
Some toys were recently recalled after they were found to contain lead. Here is a link to a website with additional information about that recall, sponsored by the Center for Disease Control & Prevention.
Visiting the EMSL Analytical website can provide information about the testing of paint, dust and water to determine their lead content. Before using chemical lead test kits available at various retail stores, please read this link to a Consumer Affairs report on chemical test kits.
For more information on this program and about the Vermilion County Health Department, please see the Annual Report.
The greatest health concern for lead poisoning is in children, ages 6 month to 6 years. These are the years in which the central nervous system is developing. Lead in a child’s blood system can hamper the full development of their nervous system. Low level of lead can result in learning and behavior disorders and high levels can result in convulsions and death.
In Illinois children entering licensed day care centers, the Headstart program or kindergarten are required to be tested for lead.