SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) Illinois officials will use Lead Poisoning Prevention Week next week to raise awareness about a problem that is worse here than in many states.

The Illinois Department of Public Health says it identified 3,300 children with elevated lead levels in their blood last year. That’s one of the highest numbers in the country.

But the department reports a significant decline in children under age 6 with lead poisoning from 32 percent in 1996 to just more than 1 percent last year.

Federal officials say nearly a quarter-million children nationwide have lead levels high enough to damage their health.

Lead paint and its dust are major sources of poisoning in children. Illinois has an estimated 2 million homes built before 1978 when lead-based paint was banned.

Copyright Associated Press


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