Lead Poisoning

Lead-ExposureDid you know that approximately 80% of homes in South Milwaukee were built prior to 1978? That means most homes in South Milwaukee could contain lead-based paint, on the inside and/or on the outside of the house. How do you know if your home is a risk for Lead Exposure?

Here is what to look for:

  • Peeling, chipping and cracking lead-based paint - children sometimes eat paint chips because the leaded paint tastes sweet. But they also are poisoned from the dust created by the paint chips. Here is what to do to prevent the lead dust exposure.
  • Peeling and chipping paint on the exterior of the house or garage. Lead-based paint can contaminate the soil where children play. Here is what to do to prevent exposure.
  • Lead exposure may also occur in water. Some older homes have lead pipe lines that bring the water to the house. In general, homes built after 1960 would likely not have lead "laterals" (the pipes that bring water to the house from the main in the street). Prior to 1960, lead pipes were used but your home may not have a lead pipe. Learn more about water lines.

Lead Screening

Testing for lead in the blood is very important to check in babies and toddlers. A developing child learns by handling and mouthing objects in their environment so are at risk for ingesting lead dust. The Wisconsin State Statute 254 requires that providers and WIC clinics must report results of blood lead levels to the State where a registry is maintained. Local Health Departments are responsible for monitoring and surveillance of blood lead levels, and will follow up by contacting parents/caregivers if the result is over 5µg/dl. Blood lead level testing may be performed using a finger stick (capillary) test, or a blood draw (venous) test. 

Recommendations for blood lead screening are at 12 months and 24 months of age. Children who are 3 to 5 years old should be screened are enrolled in WIC or Medicaid, have a sibling with elevated blood lead level, live in a house built before 1978 and are exposed to remodel dust, or have ever lived in, or spent time in a building built before 1950. Please note that the cities of Milwaukee and Racine have a slightly different recommendation due to the concentration of older homes that may contain lead paint.

Additional Information

Please contact the South Milwaukee Health Department at 414-768-8055 if you would like more information about Lead. You may also email the Health Department.