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Department grant to fight lead exposure

For immediate release

Fort Wayne (June 20, 2022) – A state grant worth up to nearly $439,000 will bolster ongoing Allen County Department of Health efforts to lessen the harmful effects of lead on children.

There is no safe level of lead, and the Department’s Healthy Homes Program works with families, health care providers and other agencies to prevent childhood lead poisoning through education, screening, case management and enforcement of healthy housing practices.

“This grant will assist in providing education, lead case management and identification of sources of lead for children under 7 and their families as we support them in making informed decisions about the health of their children,” said Josh Blauvelt, Vector Control and Healthy Homes program coordinator for the Health Department’s Environmental Services Division. “Even at very low levels, lead exposure can lead to serious health problems, which means testing and early intervention are extremely important.”

Exposure to lead can cause brain damage, slowed growth and development, behavior problems and problems with hearing and speech.

There are typically more than 4,000 lead screenings conducted each year in Allen County, and dozens of children with elevated lead levels are referred to the Health Department for case management services.

“Funding is key to fighting any public health problem, and this grant allows us to continue the necessary and important fight against lead and its effects,” said Department Administrator Mindy Waldron.

The Allen County Department of Health is among 150 entities granted more than $35 million through the Health Issues and Challenges Program – an Indiana Department of Health initiative approved in 2021 by the Indiana General Assembly with funding from the federal American Rescue Plan Act. The Health Issues and Challenges Program targets tobacco use, food insecurity/obesity, lead exposure, hepatitis C, chronic disease and other issues.

The exact amount of local funding will be determined based on factors including number of screenings and case management services provided over the next two years.

Learn more about childhood lead poisoning -