Here are three simple things you can do to help protect your family:
- Get your Home Tested- Most houses built before 1978 are likely to contain some lead-based paint. However, it is the deterioration of this paint that causes a problem. Before you buy an older home, ask for a lead inspection. If you live in an old home, get an inspection or a risk assessment. Federal law requires that all sellers and landlords disclose the results of any lead inspections prior to renting or selling a unit.
- Get your Child Tested- Children 6 years of age and younger, particularly those at or below the poverty line who live in older housing, are at highest risks for lead poisoning. Even if your young children seem healthy, ask your doctor to test them for lead or call the Winnebago County Health Department at (815) 720-4130 to schedule a blood lead level test.
- Get the Facts- The Health Department can provide helpful information about preventing childhood lead poisoning. Visit us at www.wchd.org.
About childhood lead poisoning
Lead is a highly toxic metal that at one time was an ingredient in many household products, including lead-based paints manufactured before 1978. Lead poisoning can affect every system in the body and is known to cause growth, hearing, speech and learning delays, as well as loss of IQ. Lead-based paint and lead contaminated dust are the main sources of exposure for lead in children. Because lead poisoning often occurs with no obvious symptoms, it frequently goes unrecognized. A simple blood test can prevent permanent damage that will last a lifetime.
The Winnebago County Health Department is currently accepting applications for the Creating Lead Safe Rockford program, which serves to conduct lead inspections and to correct lead hazards in eligible households. The program is available to residents in ZIP codes 61101, 61102, 61103, 61104, 61107, 61108, and 61109. Households must meet income guidelines and have children aged 6 or younger to be eligible. To apply, or for more information about the program, please contact Carmelo Porta-Gonzalez at (815) 720-4130.