Lead poisoning is the number one environmental illness of children. It is caused primarily by lead-based paint in older homes built before 1978. The most common exposure to lead is through the ingestion of paint chips or contaminated dust from deteriorated or disturbed lead-based paint. Other exposures can be from sources such as imported goods, lead pipes in which water runs through, and in the soil of areas where lead based paint or old lead containers or gasoline have contaminated the soil. Environmental lead testing kits can be purchased at area hardware / home improvement stores.
Testing at the Health Department is done by a finger stick to collect a small sample of blood. It is then sent to a lab where the testing is completed. Results can take up to a few weeks to be received. If the results are within a normal range, the family is not usually notified unless notification is requested. The cost of lead testing is $30.
Two EPA-recognized test kits that can be found in our area are the 3M LeadCheck and the D-Lead brands. Prices vary depending on how many tests come in the kit. Environmental lead testing kits can be purchased at area hardware/home improvement stores.
Testing Your Yard and Garden for Lead Contaminated Soil
According to the Illinois Poison Center, lead-based paint is the most likely source of lead in a home, although lead can also be found in other places. Your garden soil may contain unsafe levels of lead and could be a health hazard. For more information and how to get your yard and garden soil tested for lead, please visit www.illinoispoisoncenter.org/leadsoil.