Lead poisoning is the number one environmental illness of children and the most common preventable pediatric health problem in the United States today. Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over a period of months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children under the age of 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. Lead poisoning effects are preventable, but irreversible. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

Children are commonly exposed to lead through breathing in or ingesting of paint chips and contaminated dust from deteriorated or disturbed lead-based paint in homes built before 1978.

To be considered for the Creating Lead Safe Rockford program, houses must be the in Zip Code areas of 61101, 61102, 61103, and 61104, of which are rated among the highest in the state of Illinois for pediatric blood lead poisoning (over 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood).

To qualify for this program, homeowners must meet the following requirements:
Meet all HUD requirements, including income guidelines and zip code requirements.
Have lead based paint hazards in the home and the home must be built prior to 1978.
Have a child under the age of six residing in the household.
Priority goes to those qualifying households which have a pregnant woman and/or a child under six that has an elevated blood lead level. (? 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood)
Funds are limited, so resources will only be used to correct lead hazards. Homes which meet the prerequisites, but have severe structural defects, will not be allowed in the program.
For questions and to request more information on the program, contact Dana Esparza, Winnebago County Health Department’s Lead Program Manager, at 815-720-4130, or to fill out an application, please contact Ryan Kerch, Winnebago County Health Department’s Lead Rehabilitation Specialist, at 815-720-4347 or go on-line towww.wchd.org.