There are several sources of lead that can exist in and around our homes. When lead is swallowed or breathed in, it can have a toxic effect. Young children under 6 years old are most at risk of lead poisoning which can affect growth, behavior, and development. Lead-based paint that is chipping, peeling or cracking creates lead dust, which poses the biggest risk of lead poisoning. Water that runs through lead pipes may also contain some lead. Soil, folk medicine, certain foods such as candy or spices from other countries, and toys or toy jewelry may also contain lead.
Chicago has taken effective steps to protect residents against lead exposure. Through home inspections, removal of lead paint (abatement), and testing, the number of children with lead poisoning has declined from 25% of those tested in the late 1990s to about 2% today. And Chicago’s drinking water meets all national, state and industry standards for safety because the city adds corrosion control, which coats the pipes to help prevent lead from dissolving into our water.
Fortunately, there are many steps that you also can take to become lead safe!TAKE ACTION
The City of Chicago has just announced a few new programs to assist homeowners interested in replacing their lead service lines.READ MORE
Lead paint and the dust that is created when it cracks or peels is by far the leading cause of lead poisoning in Chicago. Homes built before 1978 (when lead paint was banned in the U.S.), may still have lead paint on the walls, windows, doors and exteriors. If you live in a home that was built before 1978, assume that the outdoor and indoor paint on your home contains lead, unless tests show otherwise. Even if the lead paint has been covered with non-lead paint or wallpaper, it can still pose a health risk to humans- especially young children.
Learn how you can clean up and safely dispose of deteriorating paint immediately.TAKE ACTION
When lead is found in drinking water, it can be because it has dissolved from lead in pipes and plumbing. In Chicago, water service lines made of lead were used to connect water mains to homes until 1986 when they were banned by the federal government. In addition, lead can be present in plumbing fixtures within the home, such as old faucets, solder used to connect plumbing, and sometimes interior lead piping.
Our water has no detectable lead when it leaves the City’s water treatment plants. There are easy steps you can take at home and free programs offered by the City to help ensure that you have the highest quality drinking water.TAKE ACTION