Lead-safe home program expands in Wisconsin

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WEST ALLIS, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Lead exposure can have serious consequences. In Wisconsin, children under the age of six are most at risk.

The State Department of Health Services is helping to prevent lead poisoning in kids.

"One of the challenges with elevated blood lead levels is that it can be very invisible, there may not be any signs at all, said Karen Timberlake of the Department of Health Services.

Monday, Sept. 19, crews worked to enclose, replace, and ultimately remove lead poising from a West Allis home.

This is a part of the lead-safe home program.

The program is aimed at low-income families with children in the household.

"We look at root cause issues that keep people from being successful in their life and this is one of those issues," said Dr. George Hinton, CEO of Social Development Commission (SDC).

Environmental lead poisoning has been an ongoing problem throughout the city and county of Milwaukee.

In 2020, combined numbers show more than 65,000 Wisconsin kids under the age of six were tested for lead poisoning and more than 2,000 kids statewide had elevated blood lead levels.

These numbers caused health officials to up their tactics.

"We've been able to expand the lead-safe program by proving that this program works, by understanding what it takes to really help it be successful and to grow it," said Timberlake.

Despite the expansion, Timberlake said there is more work to be done.

"As we head into the next biannual budget, we really do need to be working with our local partners, and certainly our mayors and other local leaders, to really have a serious conversation with our Legislature," said Timberlake.

If you believe your house may qualify for the lead-safe home program, you can apply via this link.

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