The St. Joseph County Health Department is bringing awareness to lead poisoning during the week of October 22nd.
On Monday, the health department is hosting free lead testing for kids under 6 in the lobby of the County City Buliding to bring awareness to the issue. But, the health department offers free testing for kids all year long.
80% of houses in St. Joe County were built before lead was removed from residential paint, so St. Joseph County kids are considered high-risk.
Department officials say lead poisoning is completely preventable if you follow several tips. Get your home tested, especially if you live in an older house. Have yourself and kids checked for lead at regular doctor appointments. And contact your local health department if you have further questions.
Kids are especially vulnerable to the poison, and the effects can be severe.
"When the lead based paint deteriorates, it turns to a dust, and it takes a very minimal amount of dust to poison an entire home. So children spend most of their time, 70% of time in the household. They spend a lot of their time on the floor, and they spend a lot of time putting their hands into their mouths, so the risk is the lead based paint turns to dust, the dust is on the floor, then the dust gets into their mouths," says Melissa Papp of the health department.
Prevention week is mean to bring awareness to the issue and encourage people to get tested.