Public Health

Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program

Lead poisoning remains a significant health concern for young children, yet it is entirely preventable. Lead harms children’s nervous systems and is associated with reduced IQ, behavioral problems, and learning disabilities.

While lead paint in homes built before 1978 continues to be the most common source of lead exposure, there are other sources of lead that can poison a child or adult such as take-home lead from work and casting of bullets or fishing sinkers. Although lead poisoning can cause serious health problems--including death--most lead-poisoned children demonstrate no visible symptoms.

The goals of the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) are to prevent lead poisoning, coordinate services for families, and educate families and medical providers on the importance of testing children early and often for lead exposure.

Mandatory Blood Lead Testing: The Iowa Department of Public Health has recommended since 1992 that all children be tested for lead poisoning. House File 158 was passed by the 2007 legislature and was amended by the 2008 legislature. It became effective July 1, 2008, and requires all children entering kindergarten to have at least one lead test.

The goal of this legislation is to protect Iowan children under the age of 6 years from lead adverse effects in their developing brains and nervous systems and to reduce the number of children with developmental deficits and learning disorders related to lead exposure. The legislation has proven effective through an increase in the number of children tested, a decrease in the number of children with elevated blood leads and the routine child lead testing by physicians.

Lead testing for children is available at the agency during immunization clinic. Testing is recommended for children yearly beginning at age 1. If you have a child in need of a lead test, contact our office. For more information about lead testing you can call our office or visit