Lead poisoning is the number one environmental illness of children. Lead poisoning is caused primarily by lead-based paint in older homes. While Illinois has made great progress in recent years, the state maintains one of the highest rates in the nation for the number of children with elevated blood lead levels.
The most common exposure to lead by children is through the ingestion of paint chips and contaminated dust from deteriorated or disturbed lead-based paint in homes built before 1978. About 75 percent of Illinois homes built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. Other exposures may be from imported goods or food containing lead.
Illinois has implemented various measures to combat lead poisoning and reduce lead exposure in its communities. The following steps are some of the key initiatives and actions taken by the state to fight lead poisoning and exposure.
Lead Poisoning Prevention Programs
Illinois has established lead poisoning prevention programs to raise awareness, provide education, and support initiatives to prevent lead exposure. These programs aim to educate families, healthcare providers, and the general public about the dangers of lead and the importance of lead testing and prevention.
Mandatory Lead Screening
The state of Illinois requires mandatory lead screening for all children at the ages of 6 months and again at 12 months, or at the first doctor’s visit after reaching these ages. This helps identify lead exposure early and allows for timely intervention and treatment.
Lead-Safe Housing Initiatives
Illinois has implemented lead-safe housing initiatives to address lead hazards in residential properties. This includes regulations and guidelines for landlords and property owners to ensure safe and healthy housing for residents, especially children. Efforts are made to identify and remediate lead hazards in rental properties and encourage landlords to comply with lead-safe practices.
Lead Testing and Certification
Illinois requires lead testing and certification for individuals involved in lead abatement, risk assessment, and inspection activities. This ensures that professionals working in the field, such as Illinois Environmental Contractors Association trained and licensed lead abatement contractors, have the necessary expertise and adhere to proper lead-safe practices.
Financial Assistance and Grants
The state offers financial assistance and grants to support lead hazard control and remediation efforts in residential properties. This helps property owners, landlords, and communities address lead hazards and make necessary improvements to reduce lead exposure risks.
Collaboration and Partnerships
Illinois collaborates with various stakeholders, including healthcare providers, community organizations, government agencies, and advocacy groups, to raise awareness, share information, and develop strategies to prevent and address lead poisoning. These partnerships help coordinate efforts, leverage resources, and implement comprehensive lead poisoning prevention initiatives.
Legislation and Regulations
Illinois has enacted legislation and regulations to address lead hazards and protect vulnerable populations. These include regulations on lead-based paint, lead in drinking water, lead testing in schools, and lead disclosure requirements for real estate transactions.
Public Education and Outreach
The state conducts public education campaigns to increase awareness about lead poisoning prevention. These campaigns provide information on lead sources, health risks, prevention strategies, and available resources. Efforts are made to reach out to communities, healthcare providers, childcare providers, schools, and families to promote lead-safe practices.
Lead poisoning prevention efforts in Illinois are ongoing, and additional measures may be implemented as new research and best practices emerge. The state continues to prioritize lead poisoning prevention, aiming to protect the health and well-being of its residents, particularly children who are most vulnerable to lead exposure’s harmful effects.
Illinois Environmental Contractors Association Resources
For more information on finding a local contractor to assist with asbestos, lead and other regulated substance information, remediation, or removal, or if you have general questions regarding environmental regulations, check the resources below: