Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Environmental Health Services has Indiana Licensed Lead-Based Paint Inspectors/Lead Risk Assessors on staff, who educate the public on the hazards that lead poses, recognize and evaluate those hazards in homes of lead-poisoned children, and to educate homeowners on lead-safe work practices.

Contrary to public belief, lead poisoning is still prevalent throughout the United States and still constitutes a major public health risk, particularly to children ages six and under. In Elkhart County, there have been an estimated 360 children documented with elevated blood lead levels since the year 2000. It is important to remember that damage caused by lead poisoning is irreversible.

What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?

Symptoms of lead poisoning in children include, but are not limited to:

  • Reading, speech, and learning disabilities
  • Behavioral problems
  • Impaired growth or perceptual-motor dysfunction
  • Hearing loss
  • Hyperactivity or withdrawal
  • Refusal to play

At high levels, lead poisoning may cause:

  • Coma
  • Seizures
  • Brain damage
  • And even death.

What are some sources of lead?

Sources of lead include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead dust created when doors, windows, or other painted surfaces rub against each other. Children ingest this lead dust through normal hand to mouth activities.
  • Peeling lead-based paint on both the interior and exterior of homes.
  • Water contaminated with lead from metal plumbing.
  • Soil that is contaminated with lead-based paint chips or leaded gasoline.
  • Lead may be found in jewelry, cosmetics, toys, pottery glaze on ceramics, batteries, keys, metal knick-knacks, fishing line weights, folk remedies, and even in imported candy.

Many items have been recalled that contained lead including certain mini blinds, popsicle molds, candles, jewelry, chalk, crayons, and lunchboxes. For more recall information go to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission or recalls.gov.

Should my child be tested for lead?

  • Does your child live in or regularly visit a house or childcare center built before 1978 (when the Consumer Product Safety Commission banned lead in residential paint)?
  • Does your child have a sibling or playmate that has or did have lead poisoning?
  • Does anyone in your household work in an industry or have a hobby that uses lead (welder, battery factory, steel smelter, stained glass, etc.)?
  • Is your child a recent immigrant?
  • Does anyone in your family use ethnic or folk remedies for upset stomach or other ailments?

If you answered yes to any of those questions you should have your child tested for lead at your doctor, the local health clinic, or call the Elkhart County Health Department's Community Health Nursing Division at 574-523-2127.

For more general information on lead please see ECHD’s brochure "Lead- Who's at Risk?" in English and Spanish.

How can I remove lead paint based hazards from my home?

Do the work yourself:

  • While it may be possible to do some work yourself, it is important to do it in a lead-safe manner and be aware of important rules and regulations related to lead dust control and abatement.
  • • To learn about lead-safe work practices for remodeling please visit HUD.

Lead Rules and Regulations You Should Know:

There are several brochures that describe lead hazard reduction activities and the precautions that should be taken when conducting such activities. These brochures are:

  • CDC's (Center for Disease Control) "Lead Paint Safety-A Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance, and Renovation Work" in English and Spanish.
  • EPA's (Environmental Protection Agency) "The Lead-based Paint Pre-Renovation Education Rule" (English version only is available). This brochure is important because the EPA has established special requirements (found at IC 13-17-14-12 & 326 IAC 23-5) for all persons doing remodeling, renovation, and maintenance work in homes or child-occupied facilities built before 1960. This brochure outlines the requirements for contractors, property managers, and others who perform renovations for compensation in residential housing that may contain lead-based paint. If the home was built before 1978, you must provide written notice of lead-based paint hazards to the owner and occupant before work begins. This brochure also contains sample forms to 1) notify tenants of upcoming renovations and 2) confirm tenants' receipt of EPA's "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" in applicable renovations.

Selling or Renting a Home:

The Federal Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (42 U.S.C. 4852d, known as EPA Title X) requires sellers and landlords of most residential housing built before 1978 to disclose all available records and reports concerning lead-based paint and/or lead-based paint hazards and a copy of EPA's "Protect Your Family From Lead In Your Home" brochure in English or Spanish, to purchasers and tenants at the time of sale or lease or upon lease renewal. This disclosure must occur even if hazard reduction or abatement activities have been completed. Failure to disclose these test results is a violation of Federal regulations (24 CFR Part 35 and 40 CFR Part 745) and can result in fines and penalties. Other pertinent documents include:

  • "New Indiana Rental Housing Habitability Standards and Lead-Based Paint Disclosure Rules Under the Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992" in English and Spanish.
  • "EPA and HUD Real Estate Notification and Disclosure Rule: Questions and Answers" in English only.
  • "Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and /or Lead-Based Paint Hazards" forms for sellers in English and Spanish.
  • "Disclosure of Information on Lead-Based Paint and /or Lead-Based Paint Hazards" forms for lessees in English and Spanish.

To find out more information about obligations under Federal lead-based paint requirements, call the National Lead Information Clearinghouse (NLIC) at 800-424-LEAD or visit the HUD website. You may also call the EPA at 202-566-0500 or visit the EPA's lead page.

For additional information, you may contact us at the Environmental Health office at (574) 971-4600.