The Indiana Department of Health is highlighting the need for all Hoosier children younger than age 7 to be screened for lead exposure during National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, recognized October 22nd through 28th.
House Enrolled Act 1313, first taking effect on January 1st, 2023, requires that all Indiana healthcare providers determine whether children age 6 and younger have been tested for lead poisoning and to offer screening.
Data shows that no amount of lead in the blood is safe, and children aged 6 and younger are most vulnerable to the effects of lead exposure because their bodies use the toxic lead in brain and bone development. Young children are also more likely to be exposed to lead by placing their hands into their mouths, which may be contaminated by lead dust.
Lead dust often originates from deteriorated lead-based paint in older homes, but lead can occur naturally in soil and can be found in drinking water fed through lead pipes.
Signs of lead exposure can include damage to the brain and nervous system, learning and behavior problems, developmental delays, and hearing and speech problems.
Visit indianaleadfree.org for more information about the effects of lead poisoning and the importance of testing, or the Indiana Department of Health Lead and Healthy Homes Division at in.gov/health/lead-and-healthy-homes-division/home/.