SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WMBD)– Gov. JB Pritzker announced Oct. 22-28 as Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Illinois to shine a light on the dangers of lead exposure.

An Illinois e-News release states that Illinois is home to some of the highest rates of childhood lead exposure in the nation. The source? Deteriorating lead-based paint in the state’s approximately 2 million homes built before 1978, when it was banned.

Exposure to lead comes with a long list of health problems, especially for children. This can include brain and nervous system damage, slowed growth, and behavioral problems. In 2022, Illinois had more than 3,070 children with blood lead levels that exceeded “public health intervention criteria”.

To circumvent the dangers of lead, children aged six and younger are required to be evaluated for lead exposure risks by a physician.

In addition, IDPH has begun the Comprehensive Lead Education, Reduction, and Window Replacement (CLEAR-Win) program to ease the financial burden of lead abatement for low-income property owners.

For more information, a questionnaire and a list of high-risk ZIP codes can be found here.