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Health Department Raising Awareness Of Need For Lead Testing
Updated October 19, 2017 8:03 AM | Filed under: Health
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - The Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) is urging residents and healthcare providers to test young children for lead exposure as part of National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week Oct. 22-28.

"Lead exposure can have a significant impact on the health of our children, but these adverse effects are preventable," said State Health Commissioner Kris Box, MD, FACOG. "By making parents and healthcare providers more aware of the risk factors and the need to test our homes and our children, we can better protect Hoosiers."

Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the Earth's crust. Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in deteriorating buildings are the primary sources of lead exposure for U.S. children. Children under age 6 are most vulnerable because the brain is still developing and because they are more likely to put their hands in their mouths after touching surfaces containing lead. The effects of lead exposure in young children can include changes to the IQ, decreased ability to pay attention and underperformance at school. At extremely high levels, lead exposure can lead to a coma and death.

Although lead-based paint was banned in 1978, homes built prior to that date may still have lead paint that puts children at risk. Children also can be exposed to lead through contaminated drinking water and soil and from consumer products such as ceramics, toys and costume jewelry.

Here are some things Hoosiers can do to help protect their families:

  • Get your home tested, especially if it was built before 1978. Request a lead inspection before purchasing an older home.
  • Get your child tested. Medicaid requires that children under age 2 be tested for lead. Even if young children seem healthy, request testing - especially if you have risk factors.
  • Learn about your drinking water. Water pipes in some older homes may contain lead solder, allowing lead to leach into the water. Learn more about lead in drinking water at
  • Understand the facts. Your local health department can provide you with information about preventing childhood lead exposure. Contact information can be found here: .

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