Lead Poisoning Prevention Program
The Hamilton County Health provides Blood Lead Level Testing for children. It is recommended that children 6 years old and younger be screened for lead. Children living in, regularly visiting or attending a child care facility built before 1978 should be tested. Lead screening for children ages 6months through 6 years old is available (at no cost). If your child has been exposed to lead or is at risk, please call our office 317-776-8500 to schedule an appointment for testing. Lead screening and testing is also done during routine immunization clinic as necessary.
For additional information contact the Health Department at 317-776-8500. For additional information about lead poising prevention and programs:
- Indiana State Department of Health
- Centers for Disease Control
- U.S. Environmental Protection Agency - Lead Program
Health Effects of Lead
Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the U.S. Even children who appear healthy can have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies. People can get lead in their body if they:
- Put their hands or other objects covered with lead dust in their mouths.
- Eat paint chips or soil that contains lead.
- Breathe in lead dust (especially during renovations that disturb painted surfaces).
Lead is even more dangerous to children than adults because:
- Babies and young children often put their hands and other objects in their mouths. These objects can have lead dust on them.
- Children's growing bodies absorb more lead.
- Children's brains and nervous systems are more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead.
- Damage to the brain and nervous system
- Behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity)
- Slowed growth
- Hearing problems
Lead is also harmful to adults. Adults can suffer from:
- Difficulties during pregnancy
- Other reproductive problems (in both men and women)
- High blood pressure
- Digestive problems
- Nerve disorders
- Memory and concentration problems
- Muscle and joint pain
Where Lead is Found
In general, the older your home, the more likely it has lead-based paint. Lead can be found in the following places:
- Paint - Many homes built before 1978 have lead-based paint. The federal government banned lead-based paint from housing in 1978. Some states stopped its use even earlier. Lead paint can be found:
In homes in the city, country, or suburbs.
In apartments, single-family homes, and both private and public housing.
Inside and outside of the house.
- In soil around a home. (Soil can pick up lead from exterior paint, or other sources such as past use of leaded gas in cars.)
- Household dust. (Dust can pick up lead from deteriorating lead-based paint or from soil tracked into a home.)
- Drinking water. Your home might have plumbing with lead or lead solder. Call your local health department or water supplier to find out about testing your water. You cannot see, smell, or taste lead, and boiling your water will not get rid of lead. If you think your plumbing might have lead in it:
- Use only cold water for drinking and cooking.
- Run water for 15 to 30 seconds before drinking it, especially if you have not used your water for a few hours.
- The job. If you work with lead, you could bring it home on your hands or clothes. Shower and change clothes before coming home. Launder your work clothes separately from the rest of your family's clothes.
- Old painted toys and furniture.
- Food and liquids stored in lead crystal or lead-glazed pottery or porcelain.
- Lead smelters or other industries that release lead into the air.
- Hobbies that use lead, such as making pottery or stained glass, or refinishing furniture.
- Folk remedies that contain lead, such as "greta" and "azarcon" used to treat an upset stomach.
Where Lead is Likely to be a Hazard
Lead from paint chips, which you can see, and lead dust, which you can't always see, can be serious hazards. Peeling chipping, chalking, or cracking lead-based paint is a hazard and needs immediate attention. Lead-based paint may also be a hazard when found on surfaces that children can chew or that get a lot of wear-and-tear. These areas include:
- Windows and window sills
- Doors and door frames
- Stairs, railings, and banisters
- Porches and fences
Lead dust can form when lead-based paint is dry scraped, dry sanded, or heated. Dust also forms when painted surfaces bump or rub together. Lead chips and dust can get on surfaces and objects that people touch. Settled lead dust can re-enter the air when people vacuum, sweep, or walk through it.
Lead in soil can be a hazard when children play in bare soil or when people bring soil into the house on their shoes. Contact the National Lead Information Center (NLIC) to find out about testing soil for lead.