Lead poisoning is one of the greatest health risks that children face. Ingestion of even very small amounts of lead can cause a variety of severe and irreversible health problems, including decreased muscle and bone growth, speech and language problems, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and decreased intelligence. Children under the age of 7 are especially at risk because their brains are still developing.
Lead was used in both interior and exterior paint until 1978. Seventy percent of the housing in St. Joseph County was built before 1978, which puts residents at high risk for lead-based paint hazards. Children can be exposed to lead-based paint that is chipping and cracking or lead-based paint dust. Areas of concern around the home that children may chew or that get a lot of wear and tear include: widows, window sills, doors, door frames, stairs, railings, banisters and porches.
Blood Lead Tests
The Department of Health offers free blood lead draws for children under the age of 7 at the South Bend Immunization Clinic.Testing is also available at any South Bend Medical Foundation location with a completed lead certificate. To request a certificate, please call (574) 245-6656.
227 W. Jefferson Blvd. 9th Floor South Bend, IN 46601 (574) 235-9781 HOURS: Monday, Tuesday, Thursday 8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. & 1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.
Lead Risk Assessments
The St. Joseph County Department of Health conducts free lead risk assessments in homes with children under the age of 7, homes where pregnant women reside, or homes where a lead-poisoned child has already been identified.
To schedule a lead risk assessment or to get more information about lead poisoning, contact the Department of Health at (574) 235-9582.