600 Kane County Children Have Elevated Blood-Lead Levels

600 Kane County Children Have Elevated Blood-Lead Levels

Nearly 600 children in Kane are known to have elevated levels of lead in their blood.

Nationwide, hundreds of thousands of children have elevated blood-lead levels that may cause significant damage to their health, ranging from behavior and learning problems (such as hyperactivity) to slowed growth to  hearing problems to aggressive patterns of behavior. Stopping a child’s exposure to lead from leaded paint, house dust, or any other source is the best way to prevent the harmful effects of lead.

lead-free-kidsThat’s why the Kane County Health Department and the Kane County Healthy Places Coalition are joining hundreds of agencies across the county participating in National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week (Oct. 25-31) and encouraging parents to learn more about how to prevent lead poisoning.

The burden of Illinois childhood lead poisoning remains one of the highest in the nation. In 2014 alone, 2,279 children had blood-lead levels of 10μg/dL or greater and 18,412 Illinois children had blood lead levels at or above the reference value of 5 μg/dL for blood lead established by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

These children are at grave risk for the intellectual, behavioral, and academic deficits caused by lead. The primary source of lead exposure for children is their homes; some 1 million homes in Illinois have lead-based paint hazards that can result in childhood lead poisoning.

Low-income and minority children bear a disproportionate burden of this condition caused by unhealthy housing. In Kane County, 49 percent of our housing stock was built before 1978.

The Kane County Healthy Places Coalition wants parents of young children — especially those ages 1 though 6 — to understand that there is NO safe level of lead in blood.

What Kane County Parents Need to Know About Lead Poisoning

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  1. The American Academy of Pediatricians just published new documents urging increased efforts to protect children from lead since growing evidence shows even low lead levels can cause irreversible mental damages and behavioral problems
  2. Even low blood-lead levels affect IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement.
  3. Lead poisoning affects Kane County children regardless of zip code, income level, race, gender, and Medicaid/non-Medicaid coverage.
  4. About 49 percent of Kane County homes were built before 1978.
  5. In 2014, 4.3 percent of all Kane children insured by Medicaid and tested had blood levels greater than or equal to 5 µg/dL.
  6. In 2014,  3.2 percent of all Kane children NOT insured by Medicaid tested had blood levels greater than or equal to 5 µg/dL.
  7. Parents may not be aware that their homes, work and hobbies may present lead hazards for children.
  8. Frequent education and risk assessments at well-child visits are vital to keeping kids lead free.
  9. In 2014, compared to Illinois children tested, Kane County children that were tested had lower rates of blood levels greater than or equal to 5 µg/dL.

sidebar-2-img-1The Kane County Healthy Places Coalition partnered with All Our Kids Early Childhood Network to distribute colorful lead growth charts and lead posters in the community — at childcare centers, doctor offices, WIC programs, and other places young children visit. Additional posters are being mailed to pediatricians.

It takes an entire community to come together to create a great campaign. For more information, visit this page of the Kane County Healthy Places website.

As a way to observe National Lead Poisoning Awareness Week, the Kane County Healthy Places Coalition has launched a unique, multi-prong approach to health promotion as part of a comprehensive Healthy Homes Education Campaign.

The coalition has partnered with 15 home improvement stores to set up lead awareness displays highlighting their safe lead products while also educating their customers on lead prevention.

The coalition is conducting a follow up outreach survey to municipalities’ permit application departments to collect information on best practices and ways they assure contractors and renovators are receiving education and resources for safe lead removal in pre-1978 homes and buildings.

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About the Kane County Health Department

Health Department logoIn active partnership with our community, the Kane County Health Department improves the quality of life and well-being of all residents by developing and implementing local policies, systems, and services that protect and promote health, and prevent disease, injury and disability. Visit the Health Department’s Facebook Page and sign up for the award-winning “Health Matters” newsletter.

About the Healthy Places Coalition

Healthy Places CoalitionThe mission of the Kane County Healthy Places Coalition is to engage all interested community members in assessing interest and issues for improving overall community health. The Coalition is formed by participants from diverse aspects of the community, including the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Kane County Health Department, municipal governments, hospitals, fire departments, community advocacy groups, non-profits, private corporations and many others. For more information, vision the Kane County Healthy Places Coalition web page.