Nearly 150 high-risk ZIP codes — including several in west-central Illinois — added to lead testing list

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SPRINGFIELD – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) recently announced an expanded list of high-risk ZIP codes, increasing mandatory testing for lead exposure of children living within those areas.

Added to the list this year are 148 new ZIP codes, representing parts of 60 Illinois counties, bringing the total of high-risk ZIP codes to almost 1,200.

Locally, the new ZIP codes are:

Adams

  • 62301
  • 62320
  • 62324
  • 62325
  • 62338
  • 62339
  • 62346
  • 62347
  • 62348
  • 62349
  • 62351
  • 62359
  • 62360
  • 62365
  • 62376

Brown and Pike

  • All ZIP codes starting with 623.

McDonough

  • All ZIP codes starting with 614 and 623.

Hancock

  • All ZIP codes starting with 623.
  • 61450

“There is no safe level of lead in the blood,” IDPH Director Dr. Sameer Vohra said in a press release. “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 potentially 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 that come back with lead levels above five micrograms per deciliter 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:

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