Information on Exposure to Lead

Not too long ago, exposure to lead and its detrimental effects on health were on the minds of parents and doctors alike after the lead crisis in Flint, Michigan. While lead exposure is always a concern for parents of small children and pregnant women, it is especially important right now to be aware of the risk of lead exposure if you live in some parts of the City of Elgin.

You might have read in the news about a new water pipes replacement ordinance that the City of Elgin recently passed. This new ordinance is called the Voluntary Lead Water Service Pipe Replacement Program. The purpose of the ordinance is to reduce exposure to lead in your water as a result of planned construction projects by the City of Elgin. To read more about the ordinance click here.

As part of the Voluntary Lead Water Service Pipe Replacement Program, property owners affected by planned construction projects will have three options to choose from to reduce exposure to lead. You can read all about the three options at the link above.

In addition to selecting one of the three available options, we encourage you to talk to your Primary Care Provider (PCP) about ways to reduce exposure to lead and make sure that your children have been screened for lead. If you live in an area that is affected by planned construction and emergency construction projects, or in an older home, it is important that you also test your water for lead. The City of Elgin can help connect you with a certified lab that can test your water. For more information about lead tests call 311 or 847-931-6001.

Prolonged lead exposure, even in small amounts, can cause serious health issues. Lead exposure in children is of special concern, since it can affect mental and physical development. Exposure to very high levels of lead can be fatal. [i]

The U.S. Preventative Service Task Force recommends that children be screened for elevated lead levels at least once at the age of 12 months when certain risk factors are present in a child’s life. Risk factors include: living in a house built before 1950 and living in a community where the percentage of elevated Blood Lead Levels in 1- and 2- year-olds is 12%. [ii]

The Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention (ACCLPP) recommends that all children enrolled in Medicaid be screened with a blood lead test at ages 12 and 24 months. If children are not screened at 12 and 24 months, a screening can be done at 36 and 72 months. ii

If your child is a patient at Greater Elgin Family Care Center, your child will receive a lead screening at the appropriate age as described above. Please feel free to call GEFCC at 847-608-1344 for any questions and to make an appointment with one of our pediatricians for your child’s lead screening.

[i] Lead Poisoning. Mayo Clinic. Accessed 2/12/2019

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lead-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20354717

[ii] Lead, (Age + 9-12 months), Due for Screening. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. Accessed 2/12/2019

https://healthit.ahrq.gov/health-it-tools-and-resources/pediatric-resources/pediatric-rules-and-reminders/lead-age-9-12-months-due-screening