Lead Safe Housing Program

Today at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. Lead poisoning is a serious health issue for many young children and their families. Lead has been shown to be particularly harmful to children younger than six years with lead causing damage to the brain and developmental delay. Currently, only 3% of children in Utah are being tested for lead exposure and thousands of Utah families are living in households that could have lead hazards such as lead based paint.

Lead Safe Housing Program

UPHE is working with Salt Lake County’s Lead Safe Housing program to help decrease the impact of lead poisoning on Utah children by offering free lead testing and free home lead remediation to qualifying families. Due to a HUD and CDC grant, we are able to repaint the interiors and exteriors of homes, replace windows and replace carpets for free if we detect sources of lead in the home. If you can answer yes to the questions listed below you may qualify for these free services!

  • Do you live in a home or rental built before 1978?
  • Are you pregnant or have a child under the age of six living in, or visiting your home?
  • Is you household income at or below the qualifying level listed to the right?

If you or someone you know qualifies for this program please call Salt Lake County at 385-468-4892 or visit their website  https://slco.org/lead-safe-housing/ to learn more about this life changing program.

What is Lead Poisoning?

Lead poisoning is a buildup of lead occurs in the body. There is no safe known level of lead in the body and lead can be particularly damaging for young children. There is often no early signs for lead poisoning so it is crucial that children are tested for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2 to prevent serious complications. When children are exposed to lead it can cause:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Hearing and speech problems

The only way to know for sure if a child has been poisoned is to get the child tested for lead.

Lead Testing

All children should have their blood lead levels tested at 1 and 2 in order to detect if they are being regularly exposed to lead. When caught early, the harms of lead poisoning can be prevented. 

UPHE has recently worked with the Utah Lead Coalition to decrease the definition of elevated blood lead reflecting the CDC’s recommendation of greater than or equal to 5 micrograms per deciliter, a huge step in helping limit the impact of lead poisoning in Utah. 

Where is lead found?

Lead poisoning usually comes from lead-based paint used in homes built before 1978. When this paint peels and chips, it becomes lead dirt or dust and can get into children’s bodies when they put hands and toys into their mouths. Lead can also be found in soil, old toys, ammunition, contaminated water and in workshops. 


Lead Free Utah Conference

UPHE helped produce the Lead Free Utah Conference, in collaboration with Salt Lake County, The Utah Lead Coalition and The American Academy of Pediatrics – Utah Chapter. This conference educated physicians about lead poisoning through presentations from national and local lead poisoning experts such as  Dr. Mary Jean Brown, the former Chief of the Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Branch at the CDC. Watch the YouTube playlist of the all presentations from the event here or by click the image below!


Resources

Salt Lake County Lead Safe Housing https://slco.org/lead-safe-housing/

Utah Lead Coalition https://utahleadcoalition.org/

CDC: Managing Elevated Blood Levels Among Young Children: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/casemanagement/managingEBLLs.pdf

CDC Lead Program https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm

Deseret New Op Ed https://www.deseretnews.com/article/900075744/guest-opinion-utahns-should-be-more-diligent-in-testing-for-lead-poisoning.html

References

https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm

https://www.phila.gov/services/mental-physical-health/environmental-health-hazards/get-your-child-tested-for-lead/

https://slco.org/lead-safe-housing/