Responding after a child has been identified as lead poisoned

In Illinois, after a child is found with lead poisoning, a representative of the Illinois Department of Public Health may inspect the dwelling and common areas in order to identify the source of the lead poisoning and prevent the child from further exposure to lead hazards.

A home built before 1978 probably has lead-based paint. The presence of lead in a house or apartment does not always mean that the lead is hazardous to people. Intact, well-maintained surfaces may not be a hazard. In homes built before 1978, it is likely that damaged surfaces are hazardous, especially to children. The only way to know for sure whether the paint is hazardous is to test the home for lead. A home built before 1978 should especially be tested for lead when there are or will be children age six years or younger in the home.

Lead inspection: A lead inspection tests all painted surfaces on the inside and outside of the building. A lead-based paint survey is very useful to people who are planning to repaint or remodel.

The inspector provides a report that indicates which surfaces contain lead. The report does not say whether any of these surfaces are hazardous to the people living in the home.

To find a certified lead inspector near you, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) or visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

Risk assessment: A risk assessment is a more thorough report and it is the only way to know for sure if there is a hazard from lead-based paint. It also tells the type of hazard and the seriousness of the hazard. A risk assessment includes:

  • An inspection to find out where the damaged surfaces are and the causes of the damages,
  • testing of places where children may have chewed or licked (e.g., window sills),
  • testing of dust from floors and windows,
  • testing of bare soil from children's play areas or lawn and gardens.

A risk assessment report tells where the lead hazards are. The report also tells how to reduce or control any lead hazards.

For help finding a certified lead risk assessor near you, call the National Lead Information Center at 1-800-424-LEAD (5323) or visit the Illinois Department of Public Health website.

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Additional information for…
Property owners
  • The do's and don'ts of home renovation
  • What to look for in a lead contractor
  • How to find a lead contractor
  • Required disclosures to tenants
  • Right of inspection
  • Right of notification of lead hazards
  • Notifying landlords about possible lead in homes
  • If a landlord won't address a lead hazard
Childcare providers
  • Childcare provider responsibilities
  • Educational information
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