SPRINGFIELD—Illinois has one of the highest numbers of lead poisoning cases in the nation, with the Illinois Department of Public Health reporting about 3,300 children last year with elevated blood lead levels.
During Lead Poisoning Prevention Week through this Saturday, the IDPH hopes to raise awareness of the importance of testing children and homes for lead, which can result in serious health effects.
“Even at low levels, lead poisoning can affect almost every system in the body, causing learning disabilities, shortened attention span and behavioral problems,” IDPH Acting Director Dr. Craig Conover said.
Major sources of lead exposure among Illinois children are lead-based paint and lead- contaminated dust found in homes built before lead-based paint was banned in 1978.
Children 6 months through 6 years of age must be assessed for risk of lead exposure or tested before entering day care, preschool or kindergarten. The only way to know if a child has lead poisoning is by testing their blood. Blood tests are recommended at ages 12 months and 24 months.
For more information, visit idph.state.il.us/envhealth/ehpublications.htm#lead.