Overview

Lead poisoning is one of the greatest health risks that children face. Ingestion of even very small amounts of lead can cause a variety of severe and irreversible health problems, including decreased muscle and bone growth, speech and language problems, learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and decreased intelligence. Children under the age of 7 are especially at risk because their brains are still developing.

Lead was used in both interior and exterior paint  until 1978. 70% of housing in Saint Joseph County was built before 1978, which puts residents at high risk for lead-based paint hazards. Children can be exposed to lead-based paint that is chipping and cracking, or lead-based paint dust. Areas of concern around the home that children may chew or that get a lot of wear and tear include: widows, window sills, doors, door frames, stairs, railings, banisters and porches.

Lead Risk Assessments

The St. Joseph County Health Department conducts free lead risk assessments in homes with children under the age of 7, homes where pregnant women reside, or homes where a lead-poisoned child has already been identified.

To schedule a lead risk assessment or to get more information about lead poisoning, contact the Health Department at (574) 235-9582.

Blood Lead Tests

The Health Department offers free blood lead tests for children under the age of 7 at the South Bend and Mishawaka Immunization Clinics, by appointment only. Free testing is also available at any South Bend Medical Foundation location with a completed lead certificate. To request a certificate, please call (574) 245-6755.

South Bend Immunization Clinic
County City Building
227 W. Jefferson Blvd.-9th Floor
South Bend, IN 46601
(574) 235-9781
Hours: Tuesday and Thursday
8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m.- 4:00 p.m.

Mishawaka Immunization Clinic
County Services Building
219 Lincolnway West
Mishawaka, IN 46544
(574) 256-6223
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday
8:00 a.m.- 12:00 p.m. and 1:00 p.m- 4:00 p.m.