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Have Your Children Been Tested for Lead?

Illinois leads nation for highest rates of lead poisoning in children   

Lead poisoning is one of the most common, yet preventable environmental health hazard. There is no safe level of lead that can be in the body.

Lead is especially harmful to children under the age of six. Children may not display any symptoms to lead exposure and, therefore, should be evaluated by their healthcare professional at ages 12 and 24 months and at three, four, five and six years old.

Lead Testing

The only way to prevent lead poisoning is to prevent exposure to lead.

Possible sources of lead include:

  • Paint from homes built before 1978
  • Drinking water
  • Items made outside the United States, especially folk medicines and spices
  • Family members who have hobbies or occupations that expose them to lead

Illinois continues to have the highest rates in the nation for children with lead poisoning.

The Illinois Department of Public Health developed the Illinois Lead Program to help eliminate childhood lead poisoning. Childhood lead exposure has been linked to developmental delays, both short and long-term health problems, and academic difficulties. The children can also develop life-long complications.

Illinios law requires that children six years of age and younger be tested annually by a physician if they are at high risk for lead exposure and annually assessed by a physician for lead exposure even if they live in a low risk area. 

Illinois law also requires that child care facilities, preschools and kindergartens obtain statements from a physician or healthcare professional that children six or younger have had the required risk evaluation or lead poisoning tests.

Check out these resources: 

Lead and pregnancy

Exposure to lead is a serious health concern, especially for an unborn baby. Lead is stored in bone, so even if your lead exposure occurred in the past, you can still have it in your body and pass it to your baby during pregnancy. 

Access this quick reference guide designed for pregnant women:


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