Lead Program

Lead Program

Illinois Department of Public Health Childhood Lead Guidlines

  • All Illinois Children 6 months thourgh 6 years of age should be assessed for lead poisoning.
  • All Medicaid-elligible children should receive a blood test at 12 months and 24 months of age.  

Which Children are at highest risk?

  • The risk of lead poisoning falls disproportionately  on low-income children. The United States General Accounting Office estimated that that one in 12 children on Medicaid had an elevated blood lead level. It also found that blood lead screening amoung childen on Medicaid was low: 81 percent of Medicaid children had NOT received a blood lead test
  • National data demonstrates that minority children are at high risk in Illinois, African-American children are more than three times as lekiely to have elevated blood lead levels as Caucasian children, and the risk of elevated blood lead for Hispanic children is double compared to Caucasian children. 
  • Children residing in older houses and apartments are at greatest risk. A recent national survery estimated that in ilder homes where children younger than age 6 reside, the vast majority have lead0based paint hazards. For homes built before 1940, 94 percents are estimated to contain lead-based paint hazards; for homes built between 1940 through 1959, 87 percent have lead-based paint hazards. In Illinois, 23 percent of homes were built between 1940 and 1959; 25 percent of Illinois homes and 46 ercent of Chicago homes were built in 1939 or earlier. 

​What are the effects of lead poisoning?

Lead damages the developing brain and nervous system. A majority of studies suggest that the effects of lead are NOT reversible. The following are the most prominent health effects of lead poisoning in children:

  • Learning disabilities, including speech and language delays, someof which may remain latent until school age tasts are encountered;
  • Behavior problems, including aggression and hyperactivity; Interference with red blood cell formation leading to anemia
  • In its most advanced stages, seizures, coma and sometimes death. 

​Newer studies suggest that cognitive abilities- math and reading skills, nonverbal reasoning and short-term memory- are affected at levels below 10ug/dL.

What are the symtoms of lead poisoning?

Desprite suffering the effects of lead poisoning, a majority of children with lead poisoning have no obvious symptoms. Symptoms of severe lead poisoning may include:

  • Headaches
  • Vomiting 
  • Seizures
  • Anemia/fatigue
  • Loss of appetite and/or weight loss
  • Stomachaches and cramping/constipation

​Since these symtoms are not specific to lead poisoning, rigorous risk assessment and blood lead testing are the only effective ways to detect lead poisoning. 

Why are young children at a high risk for lead poisoning?

Children can absorb approximately 50 percent to 70 percent of ingested lead, whereas adults generally absorb about 5 percent. Certain developmental phases expose children to new sources of lead; for example, child oral behaviors and hand exposures to lead-containing dust on floors and windows promote lead ingestion. Children who are 1 or 2 years of age should be considered the highest priority for assessment and testing. 

What are the major sources of lead?

The most common source of lead poisoning is deteriated lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older homes. Unsafe renovation or remodeling practices can greatly increase the risk of exposure to lead dust from paint deterioration. Particularly in urban areas, soil has become contaminated with lead due to exterior paint deterioration and the past use of lead in gasoline. Other sources include parental hobbies or occupations that involve exposure to lead, water contamination from lead solder/pipes in older homes, use of lead-containing traditional medicines or cosmetics, food in imported metal-seamed cans or use of lead-containing pottery. Vinyl mini-blinds purchased before July 1997 also are likely to contain lead. 

Logan County Lead Poisoning High Risk Zip Codes

  • Beason 62512
  • Chestnut 62518
  • Cornland 62519
  • Latham 62543
  • Mt. Pulaksi 62548
  • Emden 62635
  • Hardsburg 62643
  • Middletown 62666
  • New Holland 62671

Lead test Available Monday-Friday 7:30am-4:30pm at the Logan County Department of Public Health. 


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