Polk County Health Department prevents lead poisoning through home repair assistance

As you prepare to get your older children ready for school, it’s time to maximize your toddlers ability to have lifelong learning by making sure they live in a lead safe house now. The Polk County Health Department’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program can provide financial assistance to eligible families who have lead hazards in their home. For many families this means new siding, windows and doors and most families pay nothing for these repairs.

Rick Kozin, Polk County Health Department Director said “lead poisoning can cause permanent brain damage in young children and is one of the top three preventable causes of mental retardation. Because lead-based paint is the primary source of lead poisoning it is 100% preventable.”

Lead based paint is usually found in homes that were built before 1978 and becomes a hazard when it starts to peel or chip off the walls or window sills and becomes easy for young children to ingest. Polk County has a large number of homes built before 1978 and in some of our neighborhoods, the rate of children who are tested for lead poisoning with elevated blood levels is 3 to 8 times greater than the national lead poisoning rate.

“The best way to prevent lead poisoning in young kids is to remove the lead-based paint hazards from their home. The Metropolitan Partnership for Lead Safe housing can help pay for those repairs,” said Kozin.

Families who have a home built before 1978 and have a child under 6 who lives in or visits the home for at least 60 hours each week can check into the program. The family must live in Polk or Dallas counties and be current on mortgage, utilities and taxes. Call the program to see if you meet eligibility at 286-2115 or visit http://www.metroleadsafe.org.

To find out more about the Polk County Health Department’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and what they can do to fix your lead hazards and provide a lead safe home for your family, please call 286-2115 or visit http://www.metroleadsafe.org

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Des Moines, IA 50309

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