FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: October 23, 2023
The City of Milwaukee Health Department Promotes Lead Poisoning Prevention Week: What We Can all do to keep our Homes and Families Lead Safe
Lead – a toxic metal that can be found in various sources, especially in homes built before 1978 – can have severe health consequences, particularly for young children and pregnant people. The effects of lead poisoning can be long-lasting and may include developmental delays, learning difficulties, and a range of other health and behavioral effects.
MILWAUKEE - Lead exposure in homes comes from a variety of sources in homes including the chipping paint on windows or walls, dust and dirt particles on floors and in soil, and lead-contaminated drinking water.
During Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, the City of Milwaukee Health Department encourages residents to take proactive steps to keep their families – especially young ones – safe from lead exposure. Children 6 and younger are at greatest risk for lead exposure because of their rapid growth and development, along with their increasing mobility and hand-to-mouth activity.
Here are a few simple, yet effective measures, individuals can take to significantly reduce the risk of lead exposure in their homes. If you are already taking steps to keep your home lead safe, we encourage sharing this information with others.
Maintain a Lead-Safe Home Environment
- Regularly clean the floor, windows/windowsills, and other surfaces using wet methods, and disposable cleaning supplies, to minimize the spread of lead dust.
- Making a habit of taking off shoes at the door to keep potential lead contaminants out of the home
- Washing toys with soap and water weekly (when able)
- Reminding children to wash their hands often – especially after being outside and before eating. A bonus is that this also helps kids stay healthy from cold/flu and other viruses
- Make sure your child’s play areas do not have chipping paint, especially on windowsills, or bare soil
Screening Your Child for Lead
- The city of Milwaukee Health Department strongly recommends that all children 6 and under should be tested for lead by their primary healthcare provider.
- Testing is covered by most insurance plans and required and paid for with Medicaid-eligible children.
Safe Drinking Water
- Use a water filter certified to remove lead. This is especially important for pregnant people and infants who drink formula made with tap water. Examples of lead-removing water filters here
- Run cold tap water on your faucet for 3 minutes between uses (find out more about how you can reduce risks in water from Milwaukee Water Works)
- Drink and cook with water from the cold water tap.
- To find out if your home has a lead service line, you can look up your address here or by calling Milwaukee Water Works customer service at (414) 286-2830.
See DHS’s Lead Safe Wisconsin Page for additional information on National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week in Wisconsin.