Calhoun County has one of the highest rates of children with elevated lead levels in their blood statewide. According to MDHHS and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), while there is no safe blood lead level, a test showing 3.5 ug/dL or greater is considered elevated and a cause for concern. This was lowered in 2022 from the previous value of 5 ug/dL.
With less than 20% of Calhoun County’s children under six years of age tested, CCPHD has been working to find where the gap lies in getting all eligible children screened. CCPHD’s WIC program offers testing for children during WIC appointments.
CCPHD is committed to following up on all confirmed elevated blood lead levels (EBLL) ≥ 3.5 ug/dL. A home visit is offered to the family by a CCPHD nurse, who helps identify potential lead hazard areas and assists with referrals to programs to help with remediation. Education is given on how to reduce exposure to the lead areas, how to clean if lead dust is present, and to explain healthy eating which helps to reduce lead levels in the bloodstream.
The map below shows where homes built pre-1980 are located in Calhoun County. Lead paint was banned from use in 1978, some homes built before that time pose a risk for having lead paint in them. Lead content is generally highest near windows in older homes - when windows are raised or lowered, lead dust can be released.
Exposure to lead can affect nearly every system in the body, and frequently goes unrecognized, which can potentially lead to serious health issues. Lead poisoning is particularly dangerous to infants and young children.
If you are unsure of when your home was built and you live in an area of the county with a high percentage of old homes, call CCPHD (269-969-6383) to see if lead testing is recommended for your child.
Resources for Parents or Guardians:
- Learn About Lead – EPA
- Is Your Child Safe from Lead Poisoning? – MDHHS
- What Your Child’s Blood Lead Test Means – MDHHS
- Safe Cleaning of Lead Paint Chips and Dust – MDHHS
Resources for Primary Care Providers: