© 2024 WSIU Public Broadcasting
WSIU Public Broadcasting
Member-Supported Public Media from Southern Illinois University
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

IDPH Adds Nearly 150 More High-Risk ZIP Codes to Lead Testing List

health care worker writing in chart
coffeekai
/
iStock / Getty Images Plus

SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has announced an expanded list of high-risk ZIP codes, increasing mandatory testing for lead exposure of children who live within those areas. 148 new zip codes, representing parts of 60 Illinois counties, have been added to the list this year, bringing the total of high-risk ZIP codes to almost 1,200.

“There is no safe level of lead in the blood,” said IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra. “To better serve our children and build brighter futures for all of our residents, IDPH is acting to ensure that more children have access to the testing and interventions necessary to decrease the potential serious physical and developmental health concerns linked to lead exposure.”

Under Illinois law, any child residing in a high-risk ZIP code is to be tested automatically at 12 and 24 months*. All children six years of age and younger are required to be assessed for lead exposure through the use of a questionnaire administered by a pediatrician. In addition, children who fall into other risk categories spelled out in the questionnaire are also tested.

High-risk ZIP codes are determined through an algorithm that assesses a number of different risk factors. The department has been expanding that list of ZIP codes gradually and expects to implement universal testing for lead exposure across all Illinois ZIP codes by 2026. The new expanded list, which took effect July 1, 2024, can be found at: Pediatric Lead Poisoning High-Risk ZIP Code Areas (illinois.gov).

Under current Illinois law, blood tests which come back with lead levels in excess of five micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) require a public health intervention. This includes a home inspection to determine the source of the lead contamination. If lead is found, the inspector will work with the homeowner to remove the sources of lead. In addition, there will also be a visit from a public health nurse who will educate the family on ways to protect children from the harmful effects of lead.

The newly-added ZIP codes come from the following Illinois counties:
Adams
Alexander
Bond
Boone
Calhoun
Carroll
Champaign
Clinton
Coles
Cook
Crawford
Cumberland
Dekalb
Douglas
DuPage
Edwards
Effingham
Franklin
Gallatin
Hardin
Henry
Jackson
Jefferson
Jo Daviess
Johnson
Kane
La Salle
Lake
Lee
Macon
Macoupin
Madison
Marion
Marshall
Massac
McLean
Monroe
Montgomery
Morgan
Ogle
Peoria
Piatt
Pope
Pulaski
Putnam
Randolph
Richland
Rock Island
St. Clair
Saline
Sangamon
Shelby
Tazewell
Union
Vermilion
Washington
White
Whiteside
Will
Winnebago

*An earlier version of this release incorrectly stated the testing requirements under Illinois law.

As a WSIU donor, you don’t simply watch or listen to public media programs, you are a partner. By making a gift, you help WSIU produce, purchase, and broadcast programs you care about and enjoy – every day of the year.