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 cooking with leaded pottery and eating lead-based paint chips.
Lead Data in Kane County: According to the
2015 Illinois Lead Program and Healthy Homes Annual Surveillance Report, Kane County has the fourth highest county rate of childhood lead poisoning in the state. Nearly 1,500 children in Kane are known to have elevated blood lead levels.
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.
CDC Lead Tips
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 Kane County Health Department has a Childhood Lead Prevention Program to report, track, and refer children with high blood levels for treatment. The program also provides education to individuals and the community, to help raise awareness of the causes of childhood lead poisoning.
The most important aspect of lead poisoning prevention is by eliminating exposure to lead
Blood lead screenings can identify children at risk and allow doctors to provide prompt treatment. People who live in homes built before 1978 are especially encouraged to undergo a screening to have their blood lead levels tested.
Healthy Places Coalition Page
Healthy Places Lead Page
Environmental Health Main Page
LeadFree Kids Bookmarks - English and Spanish
Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention
Safe Lead Removal Prevention
EPA Lead webpage