Childhood Lead Poisoning

The Department of Health works with family members, medical care providers and other community agencies to prevent childhood lead poisoning through education, screening, case management and the enforcement of healthy housing practices in Allen County.

ChildrenOur comprehensive lead case management program includes identifying and assisting lead-poisoned children and eliminating sources of lead in the home environment. These services are offered free of charge to children with lead levels above 5 µg/dL.

Below you will find more information on childhood lead poisoning, blood lead level testing as well as other helpful resources.

If you have additional questions, please call us at (260) 449-8600.

What is Lead Poisoning?

lead-infographic-final-full-thumbnailEven though lead was banned from use in residential paint in 1978 and from gasoline in the early 1980’s, lead poisoning remains a significant health threat to children. Deteriorated lead-based paint in the child’s home environment is the primary source of lead poisoning. But consumer products, such as children’s toys or inexpensive jewelry, often imported from countries where there are few restrictions on the use of lead, can also contribute to cases of lead poisoning.

Children under the age of 6 years are especially vulnerable to the effects of lead. Lead poisoning can damage almost every system in the body. While the damage to some parts of the body like the gastrointestinal system can be treated, the damage to the brain is irreversible.

Because many children with lead poisoning do not have any symptoms, the only sure way to tell is with a blood test. Ask your physician or health care provider about having your child tested.

Is My Child at Risk?

If you have a child between the ages of 6 months and 6 years, you should answer the lead risk questionnaire below. If you answer yes to any of the following questions, then you should consider having your child screened for lead poisoning.  You can also click here to access a statewide lead risk map based on census data tracks.

Question 1

Is your child eligible for WIC or Medicaid benefits?

Question 2

Does the child live or regularly visit a ZIP code determined to be at high risk for lead poisoning in Allen County (46802, 46803, 46806, 46807 or 46808)?

Question 3

Does your child live in or regularly visit a home or daycare center build before 1978?

Question 4

Does the child have a sibling or playmate with a high level of lead?

Question 5

Does your child live with an adult whose job or hobby involves exposure to lead (including auto, boat and home repairs, furniture refinishing, firing ranges, or casting lead fishing sinkers)?

Question 6

Has your child visited or lived in a country where the use of lead in consumer products is not restricted?

Question 7

Does your family use imported ceramics, cosmetics, medications, spices or traditional remedies?

Question 8

Does your child have medical conditions consistent with lead poisoning (including developmental or speech delays, anemia, hyperactivity, loss of appetite and irritability)?

Getting a Child Tested for Lead Poisoining

A blood lead test should be performed whenever a parent, guardian, or health care provider suspects that a child is at risk for lead exposure or if a health care provider finds signs or symptoms consistent with lead exposure.

Lead screening is available at the Department of Health’s Medical Annex, 4813 New Haven Ave, Fort Wayne, IN 46803.  The Annex is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m. except on holidays observed by Allen County Government.

To schedule an appointment to have your child(dren) tested, call (260) 449-7504 during normal business hours.

Information for Healthcare Professionals

As part of their routine examinations, healthcare provider are encouraged to include a blood lead test for any child who may be at increased risk for lead poisoning.

Physicians and laboratories should report any elevated blood lead levels on Allen County children to the Department of Health at (260) 449-7459.

Educational Materials

Below are links to videos and publications on lead poisoning prevention.

Indiana: Lead Paint, Lead Poisoning (Part 1)
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Indiana: Lead Paint, Lead Poisoning (Part 2)
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Don’t Spread Lead (Part 1)
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Don’t Spread Lead (Part 2)