Lead Poisoning

What is lead poisoning?

Lead poisoning affects a child’s brain, nervous system, and red blood cells as they grow and develop. It can cause permanent damage such as learning disabilities, speech and language problems, poor hearing, hyperactivity, and poor school performance. While this can be a significant concern, there are steps you can take to keep your child safe from lead.

child at window sill

Lead poisoning in Jackson County

There has been considerable progress in the past 20 years in reducing the number of lead-poisoned children. However, currently, there has been a decline in testing, health consultation, and elimination of lead hazards. 

Blood lead testing in Jackson County as well as the State of Michigan has been down for the last couple of years.  Testing your child is crucial as untreated lead poisoning can lead to damaging lifelong complications.  The Jackson County Health Department encourages testing and recognized high blood levels through case management and proper education.  

As of January 1, 2024, Michigan's blood lead testing guidance has changed for providers.  Physicians must test, or order a test, to check for lead in blood on all minors at 12 and 24 months of age (age one and 2) or between age 24 and 72 months (i.e., sixth birthday) if there is no record of a previous test.

Jackson County Lead Data Statistic Page

Find out more information about the Michigan Lead Safe Home Program which includes an opportunity to apply for a home lead inspection. 

Training Opportunity for Nurses, Social Workers, Public Health Workforce

This Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (CLPPP) online interactive course is designed to enhance professional awareness of childhood lead poisoning, increase blood lead testing rates for young children, educate on how to eliminate the sources of lead poisoning—especially in aging housing—and improve inter-agency collaboration and communication regarding resolution of this complex environmental health issue.

Download the flyer on the course or go to the following site:  https://courses.mihealth.org/PUBLIC/home.html  Search for CLPPP Lead Poisoning class.  If you don't have a user id in MIHealth.org, you will have to create one.  


The only way to know for sure if a child has lead poisoning is to have the child tested. Your primary care physician can do a capillary or venous blood draw test to determine your child's blood lead level. It is recommended that a venous test is performed as it is the most accurate.

Lowering  of the Blood Lead Reference Value

The Centers for Disease Control lowered the reference level for intervention from 5.0 micrograms per deciliter to 3.5 micrograms per deciliter in October 2021. In May 2022 the State of Michigan Medicaid Policy was updated to align with the CDC action. 

Prevent Lead Poisoning with a Healthy Diet

All children can benefit from eating foods that are:

-High in Iron such as iron-fortified cereals, peas, beans, lentils, dried fruits, dark and leafy green vegetables.
-High in Vitamin C such as oranges, grapefruit, tomatoes, bell peppers, broccoli, potatoes, strawberries, melons.
-High in Calcium such as milk, cheese, yogurt, and seeds
-Low in fats and oils such as meat, grains, and other proteins

Check out the videos below.
Check out this Michigan Department of Health and Human Services Video showing the Invisible Threat of lead and where it can hide.