Lead poisoning is still a problem for Indiana children.
Lead is a heavy metal found in the environment that can be toxic to humans, more specifically children and pregnant women. Exposure for pregnant women is concerning because it can result in exposure to her unborn child. For children, exposure to even small amounts of lead can cause learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence; speech, language, and behavior problems; and IQ scores 4-7 points lower than their peers.
Children are most often exposed to lead in contaminated soil or in lead dust from aging lead-based paint inside buildings built before 1978. Babies and young children can be exposed to lead because they often put their hands and other objects that can have lead from dust or soil on them into their mouths. Plumbing can put lead into water, especially pipes and fixtures installed before 2011. Children and adults may be exposed to lead by eating and drinking from dishes or glasses that contain lead or from playing with toys with lead-based paint. Lead can also be found in ceramics, batteries, and cosmetics.
On November 16, 2020, the Indiana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights released a report on lead poisoning and environmental justice in Indiana that includes significant policy recommendations for the Indiana Department of Health and the Indiana General Assembly.