Lead Hazards

Lead is a metal that has been commonly used in areas like:
  • Folk remedies
  • Food cans
  • Gasoline
  • Hobbies
  • Household pipes
  • Paint
Small amounts of lead are also found naturally in water, soil, and vegetation.

Is Lead Legal?

The sale of lead-based paint for use in residences has been banned since 1978 by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It is also illegal to paint children’s toys and household furniture with lead-based paint.

Who is at Risk?

Children under six years old as well as unborn children are subject to lead poisoning at lower levels of lead absorption. Adults are also at risk for lead poisoning.

Why is Lead a Hazard?

Lead interferes with some of the body’s basic functions. Once in the body, lead may be absorbed into the bones or organs, and damage from lead poisoning is irreversible. Lead can cause learning disabilities, decreased intelligence, and problems with development.

Damage often occurs relating to:
  • Hearing
  • Kidneys
  • Muscle and bone growth
  • Muscle coordination
  • Nervous system
  • Speech and language problems

Symptoms of Lead Poisoning

Often times there are no symptoms of lead poisoning. When symptoms occur, they may be mistaken for common illnesses including:
  • Colic
  • Flu
  • Stomach aches

What measures can I take to prevent lead poisoning in my child?

  • Do not allow your children to eat dirt.
  • Encourage your children to play in grassy areas rather than in dirt.
  • Ensure that your family eats well-balanced meals:
    • Provide foods high in iron, calcium, and vitamin C to help get the lead out of a child’s system.
    • Avoid fried and fatty foods because these foods allow the body to absorb lead faster.
  • Keep your home clean using wet cleaning methods.
  • Wash your children’s hands before they eat and before they go to sleep.
  • Wash your children’s toys often and throw away any lead-painted toys.
  • Wipe up any paint chips with a wet sponge or rag.

Should I have my Child Tested for Lead Poisoning?

All children between the ages of six months old and six years old should be assessed for their risk of lead poisoning. Illinois state law requires all children entering day care, nursery school, preschool, or kindergarten to provide proof of a blood test or an assessment for lead. To find out how to test your child, call your doctor or the Rock Island County Health Department at (309-558-2935).

For More Information

If you would like more details about lead and lead safety, please contact the Rock Island County Health Department lead case manager at (309) 225-2935.

You can also download Lead In Your Home: A Parent’s Reference Guide, a comprehensive document that offers valuable information about protecting your children from lead poisoning and reducing the risks of lead in your home.