Lead

The Lead Hazard Control Grant is accepting applications.
 
Click here for more information and application materials

Lead is a naturally-occurring element found in a wide variety of products found in and around the home. These products may include paint, ceramics, pipes and plumbing materials, gasoline, batteries, and cosmetics.While lead has some beneficial uses, it can also be extremely hazardous to the health of both humans and animals. Though, both adults and children may be exposed and experience negative health effects from lead, lead is particularly dangerous for children.

A child's developing body is more likely to absorb an increased amount of lead compared to that of an adult. As the body is developing, the brain and nervous system are more sensitive to the negative effects of lead. Due to the natural tendency of infants and children to explore their environment, children are more likely to become exposed to lead through contaminated items that have been touched or placed in their mouth. Other common methods by which children and adults are exposed to lead is through consumption of contaminated food or water, eating from dishes or glasses that contain lead, inhaling lead from lead-based paint or lead-contaminated soil, or playing with toys that contain lead paint. 

What are the Health Effects of Lead Exposure?

Even low levels of lead in the blood of children can result in:

  • Problems with Behavior and Learning
  • Reduced IQ
  • Hyperactivity
  • Stunted Growth
  • Hearing Problems
  • Anemia
Pregnant Women

Next to children, pregnant women are the next most susceptible populations for experiencing poor health effects from lead exposure. Lead exposure can result in serious health effects for both the mother and the developing fetus. The fetus may experience:

  • Reduced Growth
  • Premature Birth
Adults exposed to lead may suffer from:

  • Cardiovascular effects - such as increased blood pressure
  • Decreased Kidney Function
  • Reproductive Problems in both Male and Females
Reduce Chances of Exposure to Lead

The most effective way to reduce the chances of being exposed to lead is by keeping your home clean and well-maintained. Specific steps that can aid in reducing lead exposure within the home, includes:

  • Inspection and maintenance of all painted surfaces to prevent deterioration of paint
  • Immediately and completely address water damage 
  • Keep your home clean and free of dust
  • Wipe down painted areas where friction may create opportunities for dust to be released such as around doors, windows, or drawers. A wet sponge or rag are effective tools in removing paint chips or dust in these areas.
  • Only use cold water in preparing food or beverages
  • Clean screens or faucet aerators on a regular basis to avoid contamination of water used to prepare food and beverages
  • Wash children's hands, bottles, pacifiers, and toys often
  • Wipe off and remove shoes when entering the home
  • Eat well-balanced meals. (Children who eat healthy diets absorb less lead)
  • If your home is being renovated, repaired, or painted ensure the contractor is Lead-Safe Certified, and make sure they follow lead-safe work practices.

Lead Services Offered by Linn County Healthy Homes

  • Conduct blood lead screening
  • Provide medical case management for children with elevated blood lead levels.
  • Conduct environmental inspections to determine sources of lead exposure to a child with an elevated blood lead level.
  • Conduct lead inspections for the City of Cedar Rapids Lead Hazard Control Grant program.