Environmental Lead Hazards
Environmental Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
Lead poisoning is the number one environmental illness of children. The most common exposure to lead by children is through ingesting paint chips and contaminated dust from deteriorated lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. Illinois has higher rates of lead poisoning among its children than any other state in the nation (Illinois Department of Public Health).
Small doses of lead can affect children’s brains, kidneys, and stomachs. Depending on the severity of exposure, lead poisoning can lead to developmental and behavioral problems in many cases.
The Knox County Health Department performs inspections on homes of children who have exhibited elevated blood lead levels. Risk assessment and lead prevention education are conducted to assist parents, guardians, and property owners on minimizing lead exposure.
All children ages 6 months to 6 years should be screened for possible lead exposure. As of January 1, 1993, all children within Illinois entering day care, nursery school, preschool or kindergarten must have proof of lead screening.