Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Environmental Health Services has three lead risk assessors licensed through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM) whose purpose are to educate the public on the hazards that lead poses, to recognize and evaluate those hazards, and to educate homeowners on lead safe work practices. 

Contrary to public belief, lead poisoning is still prevalent throughout the United States and still constitutes a major public health risk, particularly to children six years old and under. In Elkhart County there have been an estimated 270 children documented with elevated blood lead levels since 1994. It is important to remember that damage caused by lead poisoning is NOT reversible.

What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?

Symptoms of lead poisoning in children include, but are not limited to:

  • Reading, speech, and learning disabilities
  • Behavioral problems
  • Impaired growth or perceptual motor dysfunction
  • Hearing loss
  • Hyperactivity or withdrawal
  • Refusal to play

 

At high levels, lead poisoning may cause: 

  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • And even death.

 

What are some sources of lead?

Sources of lead include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead dust created when doors, windows, or other painted surfaces rub against each other. Children ingest this lead dust through normal hand to mouth activities.

  • Peeling lead based paint.

  • Water contaminated with lead from soldering in plumbing.

  • Soil, especially in bare spots, with lead from peeling exterior paint

  • Lead may be found in jewelry, toys, pottery glaze, batteries, keys, metal knick knacks, fishing line weights, and even in imported candy.

Numerous other items such as painted toys, batteries and imported items such as imported candies, ceramics glazed with lead to be used for cooking (see below), folk remedies, and cosmetics.

Many items have been recalled that contained lead including certain mini blinds, popsicle molds, candles, jewelry, chalk, crayons, and lunchboxes. For more recall information go to http://www.cpsc.gov or http://www.recalls.gov.

Should my child be tested for lead?

  • Does your child live in or regularly visit a house or childcare center built before 1978 (when the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lead in residential paint)?

  • Does your child have a sibling or playmate that has or did have lead poisoning?

  • Does anyone in your household work in an industry or have a hobby that uses lead (welder, battery factory, steel smelter, stained glass, etc.)?

  • Is your child a recent immigrant?

  • Does anyone in your family use ethnic or folk remedies for upset stomach or other ailments?

If you answered yes to any of those questions you should have your child tested for lead at your doctor, the local health clinic, or call the Elkhart County Health Department's Community Health Nursing Division at 574-523-2127.

For more general information on lead take at look at "Lead- Who's at Risk?" a pamphlet produced by ECHD in English and Spanish.

How can I remove lead paint based hazards from my home?

Apply to the Elkhart County Lead Hazard Control Program:

  • Funding may be available for your home to be made lead safe through the Elkhart County Lead Hazard Control Program.  Please visit their webpage or call (574)-971-4600 for more information.

 

Hire a lead licensed contractor:

  • It is important to make sure any contractor you hire to do lead abatement be properly licensed to do the work. Here is a list of local licensed lead abatement contractors.

 

Do the work yourself:

  • While it may be possible to do some work yourself it is important to do it in a lead safe manor and be aware of important rules and regulations related to lead control and abatement.
  • To learn about lead-safe work practices for remodeling please visit HUD or get RRP Certified. 

Lead Rules and Regulations You Should Know:

Renovations:  There are several brochures that describe lead hazard reduction activities and the precautions that should be taken when conducting such activities. These brochures are:

  • CDC's (Center for Disease Control) "Lead Paint Safety-A Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance, and Renovation Work" in English and Spanish.

  • EPA's (Environmental Protection Agency) "The Lead-based Paint Pre-Renovation Education Rule" (English version only is available). This brochure is important because Indiana has established special requirements (found at IC 13-17-14-12 & 326 IAC 23-5) for all persons doing remodeling, renovation, and maintenance work in such an Indiana home or child-occupied facility built before 1960. This brochure outlines the requirements for contractors, property managers, and others who perform renovations for compensation in residential housing that may contain lead-based paint. If the home was built before 1978, you must provide written notice of lead-based paint hazards to the owner and occupant before work begins. This brochure also contains sample forms to be used to 1) notify tenants of upcoming renovations and 2) confirm tenants receipt of EPA's "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" in applicable renovations.

These brochures are also available at the HUD website below. These forms are not copyrighted so they may be copied and distributed freely.

Selling or Renting a Home: The Federal Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (42 U.S.C. 4852d) known as EPA Title X requires sellers and landlords of most residential housing built before 1978 to disclose all available records and reports concerning lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards, including the enclosed report and EPA's "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" brochure in English or Spanish, to purchasers and tenants at the time of sale or lease or upon lease renewal.  This disclosure must occur even if hazard reduction or abatement activities have been completed.  Failure to disclose these test results is a violation of Federal regulations (24 CFR Part 35 and 40 CFR Part 745) and can result in fines and penalties. Other pertinent documents include: 

To find out more information about obligations under Federal lead-based paint requirements, call the National lead Information Center (NLIC) at 800-424-LEAD or visit HUD's website and click on "Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rule." You may also visit the EPA at www.epa.gov/lead.

Additional links:

Indiana State Department of Health

Alliance for Healthy Homes

Improving Kids Environment

Scorecard the Polution Information Site

 

For additional information you may contact us at the Environmental Health office at (574) 971-4600.