Lead Poisoning Prevention

Illinois Lead Program

Lead poisoning, the number one environmental illness of children, is caused primarily by lead-based paint in older homes. While Illinois has made great progress in recent years, we maintain 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.

The Illinois Lead Program’s Goals and Responsibilities

The primary objective of the Illinois Lead Program is to eliminate the incidence of childhood lead poisoning. Program funding is provided through a federal grant by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The program conducts management responsibilities, nursing consultations, education, data compilation, and also licenses lead professionals. The role of lead prevention and intervention activities are delegated to local health departments and health districts that provide services under a grant agreement.

The goal of the Program is to provide assistance for case management services, education and outreach through training and community interventions. Also, the program compiles data and produces surveillance reports for program evaluation.

The program partners with numerous agencies and organizations throughout the state whose common interest is to alleviate lead exposure and assist in promoting a healthy environment. A diverse 40 member team, the Illinois Lead Poisoning Elimination Advisory Council, provides program guidance and oversight for carrying out the goals of the Strategic Plan for the Elimination of Childhood Lead Poisoning.

The program’s responsibilities include three key areas for prevention and intervention activities assisting families; 1) Testing, Case Management and Surveillance, 2) Education/Training, and 3) Lead Abatement/Mitigation Licensure.