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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.

Lead Poisoning Prevention​​​​

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. 

Under Illinois law, any child residing in a high-risk ZIP code​ is to be tested automatically at 12, 24, and 36 months. All children six years of age and younger are required to be assessed for lead exposure through the use of a questionnaire administered by a pediatrician. In addition, children who fall into other risk categories spelled out in the questionnaire are also tested.

KCHD ​Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

​Lead poisoning is entirely preventable. The key is to stop children from coming into contact with lead and to treat children who have been poisoned by lead. The goal is to prevent childhood lead exposure 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. We educate families on how to reduce lead exposure and help families get treatment. We also educate individuals and the community to 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 m​ore likely to have lead-based paint. If you are interested in having your home inspected for lead risks, contact a lic​ensed Lead Risk Assessor​.

If you have further questions, please email Kane County Health Department askus@kanehealth.com

Monthly statistics for this program can be found on the Public Health Committee Report Page.

Safe Work​​ Practices


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


Contractors working on homes with lead paint are required to follow the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting (RRP) rule, which provides guidelines for protection against renovation activities that can disturb lead dust such as sanding, cutting and​ demolition​.​


2019 Illinois Lead Program and Healthy Homes Annual Surveillance Report​
LeadFree Kids Bookmarks - English and Spanish
Lead Risk Assessors in Illinois
Safe Lead Removal Prevention
EPA Lead webpage
CDC: Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
Webinar: Consequences of Childhood Lead Exposure & Lead Renovation, Repair, and Painting Rules