What is Lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring element that can be found in small amounts in the earth’s crust. Even though there are some beneficial uses of lead, it is extremely toxic to humans and animals. Children under 6 years of age are most at risk for lead poisoning. Approximately 75% of the homes in Calhoun County were built before 1978, but less than 20% of children under the age of 6 in Calhoun County were tested for lead poisoning in 2015.
What Can Happen to a Child Poisoned by Lead?
• Even a small exposure to lead can cause serious problems for a child and can cause:
o Slowed growth and development
o Hearing and speech problems
o Learning and behavior problems
o Damage to the brain and nervous system
o Poor muscle coordination
• Low-lead exposure is most common, but exposure to high amounts of lead can have devastating effects on children including seizures, unconsciousness, and, in some cases, death.
• Lead exposure during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early or put you at risk for a miscarriage. Please visit Michigan Department of Health & Human Services for more information.
- Resources for lead remediation assistance for eligible families:
- The City of Battle Creek Minor Home Repair Program – Please visit http://www.battlecreekmi.gov/185/Minor-Home-Repair-Program for more information or contact 269-966-3323.
- The Michigan Lead Safe Homes Program – For more information, please visit http://www.michigan.gov/mdhhs/0,5885,7-339-71550_2955_2983—,00.html.
Main Source of Lead in Calhoun County
• The most common source of lead is from lead based paint found in homes built before 1978.
o Paint that peels and cracks can create lead dust in the home, which can spread to other areas of the home including toys, tables, window sills, and floors.
o A child could be poisoned if they swallow or breathe in the contaminated dust.
How to Prevent Lead Poisoning
• If you rent, tell your landlord about peeling/chipping paint.
• Keep painted surfaces clean, using warm water and all-purpose cleaner.
• Keep play areas clean, and wash toys, bottles, and pacifiers frequently.
• Rinse sponges and mop heads often during cleaning.
• Wash hands often, especially before meals and sleep.
• Remove your shoes at the door.
• Keep children from chewing on painted surfaces and eating soil.
• Make sure children eat nutritious meals.
Ask to Lead Test All Children Under the Age of 6 Years
1. Contact your child’s primary doctor.
2. You may be eligible for FREE lead testing – Call the Calhoun County Public Health Department for more information: 269-969-6370 (Battle Creek) or 517-629-9534 (Albion)
3. WIC clinics offer clients FREE lead testing – Call for more information: 269-969-6860 (Battle Creek) or 517-629-9434 (Albion).