Lead Poisoning Testing

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Why This Is Important

Childhood lead poisoning is one of the most common yet preventable health problems in the United States. Lead is highly toxic and can be found in chipping and peeling paint, soil and unregulated products. Children usually have no overt symptoms, but the damage is profound, including lower academic achievement and behavioral problems. Testing all children offers the best chance to reduce or eliminate preventable harm associated with lead poisoning.

What's Being Done

The Minneapolis Department of Health and Family Support along with partnering agencies provides outreach to Minneapolis clinics to increase lead testing; distribution of in-home lead detection kits to parents; and referrals for free, in-home, preventive-education visits to identify lead hazards and link families to remediation resources. Key initiatives include:

  • Community partners provide lead education in English, Somali, Spanish and Hmong through community events, home visits and door-to-door outreach.
  • Minneapolis inspections staff require repair of deteriorated paint surfaces, including requiring Lead Safe Work Practices certification when rental property owners address chipping and peeling paint citations in pre-1978 buildings. The certification course teaches contractors, landlords and property owners how to work safely with lead paint.
  • Grant-funded programs work to remediate lead hazards in high-risk housing to prevent lead poisoning.
  • Lead remediation on residential units is completed in response to children with the highest levels of lead poisoning.
  • A total of $1.56 million in new grant funding has been secured for 2008 to 2010 for remediation, outreach and education.

About This Measure

Children are considered poisoned when their test results are 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (µg/dl) or greater. The City of Minneapolis obtains lead data from the Minnesota Department of Health (MDH).

Last updated Feb. 23, 2012

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