IDPH launches $12 million grant program to reduce lead poisoning in children

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) – In recognition of Childhood Lead Poisoning Awareness Week, the Illinois Department of Health is offering $12 million in grants to communities for reduction and prevention projects. lead attenuation.

The program aims to increase the safety of lead homes, reduce lead exposure in children, and reduce the financial burden of lead mitigation for low-income homeowners.

The IPDH reports that most lead exposure occurs through contaminated dust from chipping or disturbed lead-based paint, but lead is also present in soil, water or other products. that could end up in your child’s mouth. Lead exposure can cause brain and nervous system damage, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and even coma and death can occur at very high levels.

The state says Illinois has about 2 million households that have lead hazards, and children are at the highest risk for exposure and poisoning. Pregnant women are also at risk, as lead can be passed to their unborn child.

“Protecting children from lead exposure is essential for their long-term health,” said IDPH Director Dr Sameer Vohra. “Even low levels of lead have been shown to affect learning and attention spans. Early detection by a healthcare professional is crucial to preventing further exposure and reducing harmful harm. As a pediatrician, I know the most important step in preventing exposure is eliminating the dangers of lead from the environments children live, learn, grow and play in. IDPH is pleased to announce efforts during Prevention Week from lead poisoning in children to help local municipalities with lead reduction projects to improve the health of their communities.

Director Vohra noted that due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many people have missed routine medical appointments in an effort to isolate and slow the spread of the virus. Since the start of the pandemic, lead testing rates have declined by approximately 22%. However, even with decreased testing, the number of children exposed to lead was still higher, likely due to increased time spent at home.

All children 6 years of age and younger should be evaluated by their doctor for the risk of lead exposure and undergo a blood test, if necessary. “It is vitally important to get tested in the first year of life if children are at risk, and then get tested again a year later,” said Sameer Vohra, director of IDPH.

IDPH also recommends that pregnant women be evaluated for lead exposure and tested if deemed necessary.

IDPH is currently accepting applications through November 18 from local municipalities and community action agencies for up to $12 million in CLEAR-Win (Comprehensive Lead Education, Reduction, and Window Replacement) program grants. Applications should be submitted through the web-based “EGrAMS” (Electronic Grant Administration and Management System) system used by IDPH for end-to-end grant management.

In support of this project, Governor Pritzker has declared October 23-29 Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Illinois in hopes of raising awareness about lead poisoning prevention. in children.

“Every child deserves to grow up healthy and well. Our state is laser focused to ensure young people have a bright future and mitigating the long-term harmful effects of lead contamination is critical to that mission,” said Lt. Governor Juliana Stratton.

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