What is Lead? 

Lead is a naturally occurring element found in small amounts in the earth's crust. While it has some beneficial uses, it can be toxic to humans and animals, causing various health effects. Lead can ultimately be found in all parts of the environment and much of our exposure to lead comes from normal activities, such as past use of leaded gasoline, industrial facilities, and past use of lead-based paint in homes. Homes built prior to 1978 are more likely to have lead-based paint in their homes. Lead-based paint is still present in millions of homes, normally under layers of newer paint. It is the deteriorated lead-based paint (i.e., peeling, chipping, cracking, damaged, etc.) that is a hazard and needs attention. Lead-based paints can also be present on windows and windowsills, doors and door frames, stairs, railings, banisters, and porches.

Tips to Reduce Lead in Older Buildings and Homes

  • Inspect and keep all painted surfaces in good shape, cleaning dust up frequently with a wet cloth or paper towel
  • Consult a certified lead professional before beginning any renovations, repairs, or painting projects
  • Avoid tracking lead dust into homes by wiping and removing shoes before entering a home and placing dust mats near doorways
  • Learn if you have a lead service line by contacting your water utility or a licensed plumber to determine if the pipe that connects your home to the water main (called a service line) is made from lead.

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP)

Children is one of the groups of individuals who are most at-risk for complications from lead poisoning. Linn County Public Health is a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) servicer and is working towards reducing the number of children with elevated blood lead (EBL) levels in our community. The CLPPP program is through the Iowa Department of Health and Human Services

Screening Recommendations

To ensure a child's optimal health before entering kindergarten, children are required by the State of Iowa to get a blood lead test. Blood lead tests can be scheduled with your child's primary care provider. It is important to get your child tested for lead during this point in their development, as they are typically more active and curious about the environment they live and play in between 12 and 36 months of age. It's also important to get a baseline blood lead test at 12 months of age and follow up with recommendations from that test to identify any elevated blood levels and reduce exposures before levels become too high.

As part of the CLPPP program, Linn County Public Health offers medical case management for children with EBLs, environmental inspections to determine sources of lead exposure to a child with an EBL, and educational materials. To inquire about this program, call Linn County Public Health at 319-892-6000 or email [email protected]

CLPPP Resources: