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Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 1 in 22 children in America have high levels of lead in their blood. Many homes and apartments built before 1978 have lead paint or varnish on the walls, woodwork, windows and floors. In homes built before 1950 there is a greater chance the paint contains lead.

When children are exposed to lead dust it can cause illness. It can also cause problems with learning, growth, and behaviors that can affect a child's entire life. Even small amounts of lead can be harmful.

The Public Health unit offers lead testing to all children under age 6 years who are at risk for lead poisoning, at no charge. All children who are enrolled in the WIC program receive lead testing at one and two years of age. The test is done by obtaining a blood sample from a finger stick. To determine if a child is at risk for lead poisoning, answer these four easy questions.

  1. Does the child now live in or frequently visit a house or building built before 1950? or has the child done so in the past (for example, in day care, a home of friends or grandparents or other relatives?)
  2. Does the child now live in or frequently visit a house or building built before 1978 with recent or ongoing renovations or have they ever lived in such a building in the past?
  3. Does the child have a brother, sister, or playmate who now has or had lead poisoning?
  4. Is the child enrolled in (or eligible for) Medicaid, HealthCheck, or WIC?

If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions the child should be tested for lead poisoning.

 If a child is found to be lead poisoned, the Public Health unit will do an investigation to determine the source of the lead, and give guidelines for the removal of the lead hazards. These investigations are done by a certified lead-risk assessor.

To schedule an appointment to test a child for lead poisoning, or if you have questions about lead poisoning, please call the Public Health unit at 262-741-3140 or call toll free 800-365-1587.



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