Lead

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The Oak Creek Health Department follows up on all children with elevated lead levels in Oak Creek to assure that children with elevated blood lead levels receive ongoing medical follow-up and testing as recommended.  The Certified Lead Risk Assessor conducts lead hazard assessments of homes where children with lead poisoning reside.  Provide lead hazard assessment upon request of families with young children living in high- risk homes for the presence of lead hazards. Educate the public on reducing and managing potential lead hazards. Collect and test environmental samples for lead. Provide consultation and literature on how to safely eliminate lead hazards.

Lead is a naturally occurring metal found deep in the ground. It occurs in small amounts in ore, along with other elements such as silver, zinc, or copper. Even though it is found in small amounts, there is an abundant supply of lead throughout the earth. Because it is widespread, and easy to extract and work with, lead was used for hundreds of years in a wide variety of products found in and around homes, including paint and gasoline.

Lead can still be found in lead-based paint used in older homes, contaminated soil, household dust, drinking water pumped through leaded pipes, lead crystal, lead-glazed pottery, airplane fuel, some toys, and some inexpensive metal jewelry. Until 1978, lead paint was commonly used on the interior and exterior of homes. Deteriorated lead paint in older housing remains the most common source of lead exposure for children in the United States.

No level of lead exposure is considered safe.  Exposure to lead can have a wide range of effects on a child’s development and behavior. Blood lead levels less than 10 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL) are associated with increased behavioral effects, delayed puberty, and decreases in hearing, cognitive performance, and postnatal growth or height. Some of these health effects are found even at low blood lead levels less than 5 μg/dL, including lower IQ scores, decreased academic achievement, and increases in both behavioral problems and attention-related behaviors. There is a wide range of lead-associated behavioral effects in the area of attention. Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is one example on the more severe end of the spectrum.


Blood Lead Level


Health Effects

Blood lead levels below 5μg/dL

Children: Decreased academic achievement, IQ, and specific cognitive measures; increased incidence of problem and attention-related behaviors

Adults: Decreased kidney function, maternal blood lead associated with reduced fetal growth

Blood lead levels below 10μg/dL

Children: Delayed puberty, reduced postnatal growth, decreased IQ and hearing

Adults: Increased blood pressure, risk of hypertension, and incidence of essential tremor

Oak Creek Health Department