Health officials request funds to counteract lead poisoning

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CARBONDALE, Ill. – Illinois health officials are requesting about $5 million more from the state to implement new rules aimed at identifying and caring for children under 6 years with lead poisoning.

The Southern Illinoisan reports that the Illinois Department of Health received about $10 million this fiscal year to send nurses and inspectors into the homes of children who tested positive for lead poisoning.

Under the rules, action is taken if five micrograms of lead is found in a deciliter of a child’s blood. Experts say lead can cause behavioral problems, developmental delays and other health issues.

Bob Palmer is a policy director for Housing Action Illinois, which advocates for safe and affordable housing. He says an additional 6,000 children could be eligible for environmental testing and medical care under the new rules.

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