Families of Lead Exposed Children

While lead exposure can affect anyone, children are at highest risk for experiencing its detrimental effects because their bodies are smaller and still developing. Children ages 2 years old and younger are the highest priority for evaluation and testing due to brain development and frequent hand to mouth activity (such as putting toys in their mouth or sucking their thumb that could have picked up lead dust from a source in their immediate living environment). All children ages 6 and under are required to be evaluated for lead exposure risks by their physician and tested if necessary. The Illinois Lead Program recommends all children be evaluated or tested as indicated at ages 12 months and 24 months, and 3, 4,5, and 6 years of age.

Is my child at risk? Should my child be tested? To find out, click here

Are you concerned about lead in drinking water? If so, click here for more information.

Lead Facts

  • Pre-1978 housing consisting of lead paint hazards remains the most prevalent source for lead exposure and nearly 60% of Illinois homes were built prior to 1978.
  • Main sources of lead:
    • Paint, dust, or contaminated soil in or around the home.
    • Drinking water from lead in the home’s plumbing system. Click here for more information on lead in water.
    • Imported items such as foods, medicines, glazed potter, make up, toys, or jewelry.
    • Other sources of lead exist, please use the IDPH Childhood Lead Risk Questionnaire, linked above and in the Publications section to the right to determin if a child should have a blood lead test done.
  • Lead in the body has many health effects, especially for young and un-born children.
  • Possible health effects of lead:
    • Damage to the brain and nervous system
    • Slowed growth and development
    • Learning and behavioral problems.
    • At extremely high levels, coma and death can occur.
    • Find a more detailed list of health effects in our publications

Find ways to help reduce a child’s blood lead level and sources of lead in your home in the resources, forms, and publications to the right.