Protect Yourself from Lead Poisoning

Lead Free For a Healthy Future logoWhat is Lead

Lead is a naturally occurring element that can be found in small amounts in the earth's crust. Even though there are some beneficial uses of lead, it is extremely toxic to humans and animals.(see note 1) Children under 6 years of age are most at risk for lead poisoning.

Children Poisoned by Lead

  • Even a small exposure to lead can cause serious problems for a child and can cause (see note 2 to 3):
    • Slowed growth and development
    • Hearing and speech problems
    • Learning and behavior problems
    • Damage to the brain and nervous system
    • Poor muscle coordination
  • Low-lead exposure is most common, but exposure to high amounts of lead can have devastating effects on children including seizures, unconsciousness, and, in some cases, death. (see note 3)
  • Lead exposure during pregnancy can cause a baby to be born too early or put you at risk for a miscarriage.(see note 1) Please visit Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for more information.

Main Source of Lead in Calhoun County

  • The most common source of lead is from lead based paint found in homes built before 1978.
    • Paint that peels and cracks can create lead dust in the home, which can spread to other areas of the home including toys, tables, window sills, and floors.
    • A child could be poisoned if they swallow or breathe in the contaminated dust. (see note 1)

Safe Cleaning

  • Tips on how to safely clean windows, porches, doors, stairs, floors, and child play areas: (see note 4)
    • Wear rubber gloves when cleaning. If you do not have rubber gloves make sure to wash your hands after cleaning.
    • Keep painted surfaces clean, using warm water and soapy cleaners.
    • Use supplies you can throw away. Rinse sponges and mop heads often during cleaning and always empty wash water down the toilet.

Please visit the Guide to Safe Cleaning (PDF) from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services for more information.

Protecting your children from lead

  • Wash hands often, especially before meals and sleep.
  • Make sure children eat nutritious meals. Foods high in calcium and iron keep lead from being absorbed into a child's body.5
  • Remove your shoes at the door. (see note 5)
  • Keep children from chewing on painted surfaces and eating soil.
  • Keep play areas clean, and wash toys, bottles, and pacifiers frequently. (see note 5)
  • Use a certified Repair and Remodeling Professional when renovating your home. (see note 5)
  • If you rent, tell your landlord about peeling/chipping paint.

For more information on lead poisoning prevention tips, please visit the Create a Lead Safe Home (PDF) handout from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

Lead Remediation Programs

Resources for lead remediation assistance for eligible families:

  1. The City of Battle Creek Minor Home Repair Program Website. For more information or contact 269-966-3323.
  2. The Michigan Lead Safe Homes Program Website.

test children age 6 & under

  1. Contact your child's primary doctor.
  2. You may be eligible for Free lead testing - Call the Calhoun County Public Health Department for more information: 269-969-6370 (Battle Creek) or 517-629-9434 (Albion)
  3. WIC clinics offer clients Free lead testing - Call for more information: 269-969-6860 (Battle Creek) or 517-629-9434 (Albion).

Reference notes

  1. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Learn About Lead.
  2. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Lead. Available at: Lead Poisoning Prevention Webpage. Accessed June 26, 2017.
  3. Environmental Protection Agency. Lead. Available at: Learn about Lead Webpage. Accessed July 6, 2017.
  4. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Guide to Safe Cleaning. Available at: Homeowner and Tenant Guide (PDF). Accessed July 18, 2017.
  5. Michigan Department of Health and Human Services. Parent Handout: Is Your Child Safe From Lead Poisoning? Available at: Create a Lead Safe Home (PDF). Accessed July 18, 2017.

For further information on the hazards of lead and how ou can protect yourself and your family - check out the Born to Be! Website.