Lead Poisoning and Healthy Homes Program

Announcements from the Board of Health:

  • The Board of Health announces a blood-lead testing policy for St. Joseph County – 7/24/08
  • The Board of Health calls for expansion of the Health Department’s lead poisoning prevention program – 3/1/06

Lead poisoning is one of the greatest health risks children face. Ingestion of even very small amounts of lead can cause a variety of severe and irreversible health problems, including decreased muscle and bone growth, speech and language problems, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence. Children under the age of 7 are especially at risk because their brains are still developing.

Most children encounter lead hazards in and around their homes. Until 1978, lead was used in both interior and exterior paint. St. Joseph County is high-risk for lead-based paint hazards – 70% of the housing in the county was built before 1978!

Dust from paint used in or on the house more than 30 years ago can be contaminating your home and yard. Children can easily get this dust on their hands and into their mouths. Even children who look and act healthy can have elevated levels of lead in their blood – the only way to know for sure is to have a blood test.

Children also may be exposed to dangerous and even fatal lead poisoning by chewing or sucking on leaded jewelry. Thousands of products are recalled each year because they contain too much lead and are a threat to children.

The St. Joseph County Health Department’s Lead Program offers a variety of services to county residents.

  • Free blood-lead tests for children 6 and under
  • Free blood-lead tests for pregnant women
  • Free lead risk assessments of housing
  • Free Healthy Homes assessments including indoor air assessment and safety checks
  • Case management of lead-poisoned children
  • Public trainings and educational programs

Informacion en Espanol



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