Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future

Image of a mother watching her daughter play on playground equipment

Lead Poisoning Prevention Week | Tools and Resources for Community Awareness

From engaging the education community, creating a social media campaign to planning a community project, hosting a training event or reaching out to the public via the media, you can make a difference by participating in a meaningful way.

Our theme for 2015 was Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future. Our key messages were:

  • Test Your Kids for Lead!
  • Look for Chipping Paint in Your Home!
  • Learn the Facts about Lead!

These three simple steps can keep our kids safe from exposure to lead-based paint and other hazards.

Select from the tabs below to read ideas that you can implement at the community level to raise awareness around lead poisoning. Invite others to work with you in developing your awareness strategy. The toolkit is also available in PDF format P-00554 (PDF, 4 MB) .

Questions? Contact Reghan Walsh, 608-261-9432, Wisconsin Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program (WCLPPP), or Kristi Tennie, 608-266-9379,  Asbestos and Lead Certification Program.


The Lead Problem

Image of reclining father holding his infant daughter.


There is no safe level of lead

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has long said there is no safe level of lead in the body. Lead from old paint hurts kids. It poisons children and reduces their future potential. Lead impacts the normal development of a child's brain, resulting in intelligence quotient (IQ) loss, learning and behavior problems, developmental delays and lifelong mental and physical health issues.

Many Wisconsin children are exposed to lead

Often people say that lead is no longer a problem, but the problem still exists today. Of children tested from 2012 through 2014 in Wisconsin, nearly 15,000 were found to have too much lead in their body. Some children are exposed to lead but never get a blood lead test. There could be many more lead-exposed children in Wisconsin.

Lead poisoning in Wisconsin is a statewide problem

Lead poisoned children have been found in every county in Wisconsin. Each red dot on this map represents a location associated with a lead poisoned child. These children may be struggling in school or suffering from physical and mental health issues.

Map displaying instances of child lead poisoning

CLPP Week provides the perfect opportunity to raise awareness of the seriousness of this problem and what each of us can do to prevent it.



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Engage Educators

Image of mother and school-age son working together on a notepad.


Since lead impacts brain development, intelligence, and ability to learn, educators have a critical interest in helping to prevent lead poisoning. In light of lead's impact on learning, it should be considered not just a public health or environmental health issue, but an educational issue with direct consequences for policy outcomes.

Reach out to:

  • Principals and school boards
  • Teachers and teaching assistants


  • School nurse, social workers, and psychologists
  • Parent Teacher Associations

What educators can do:

  • Learn more about the connection between lead and learning and what educators can use as resources to support students (WCLPPP Handbook Chapter 10: Developmental Assessment and Interventions for a Child with Lead Exposure, P-00660-10, (PDF, 99 KB).
  • Access the Wisconsin Blood Lead Registry on the Wisconsin Immunization Registry to get student's blood lead histories. Contact Pam Campbell, WCLPPP database manager.
  • Advocate for neurodevelopmental testing of students with a history of elevated blood lead levels during critical transitions points in school. CDC recommends, in a new report called Educational Interventions for Children Affected by Lead (PDF, 1.4 MB) , that children exposed early on to lead be given a neuropsychological assessment in: 1st grade (when learning to read), 4th grade (when reading to learn about new subjects), and 6th or 7th grades (when learning to accomplish a complex project). 
  • Follow advice from the Executive Summary of the Economic Policy Institute and link to community services and sponsor community lead clean-up. See an example of a community event, Community project in action, under the "Plan an Event" tab above.
  • Refer families to the housing funding program in your area to address lead hazards and other health and safety issues, like broken windows, leaking roofs, furnaces, etc., in their home.

Share this information in an email, via newsletter or FAX-blast--however teachers and others in your jurisdiction receive this kind of information.


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Employ Social Media

Image of a toddler digging in a dirt pile.


Engage people in a local media campaign to promote awareness for lead poisoning prevention. As in the Lead-Safe PSA video, have kids and adults hold up a sign that starts with the hashtag, "#LeadFreeKids." For the action item, choose a tagline and add a reliable source for more information. Include your website, the Lead-Safe Wisconsin website, the CDC Lead site, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or Housing and Urban Development (HUD) websites, or include the National Lead Information Center telephone hotline (1-800-424-LEAD).

Here's what to do to participate:

  1. Write "#LeadFreeKids" on a sheet of paper or a dry erase board.  On the next line add a tagline (next column). Last line, add a website or phone number (see above) where people can get more information.
  2. Snap a picture of yourself holding the sign.
  3. Post it on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram with the hashtag, "#LeadFreeKids."
  4. Tag your friends in your post and encourage them to join the campaign.


Taglines for signs:

For Adults:

  • Test Your Kids for Lead!
  • Look for Chipping Paint in Your Home!
  • Learn More about Lead!
  • Lead Poisoning is 100% Preventable!

For Kids:

  • I've been tested for Lead. Have You?
  • Talk to My Doctor about Lead!
  • Lead Poisoning is 100% is Preventable!

Image providing information on Lead-Free Kids Campaign    Image providing information on Lead-Free Kids Campaign     Image providing information on Lead-Free Kids Campaign 


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Plan an Event

Image of workers prepping a home for lead abatement.


Bringing neighbors together to increase awareness, improve properties and feel a sense of pride is what a great community project is all about.

When planning a community event, include these steps:

  • Identify the street or area where houses need paint repairs.
  • Secure permission from property owners and tenants.
  • Recruit certified contractors to conduct lead-safe repairs.
  • Invite local policymakers and media to the event.
  • Promote the neighborhood event through a variety of methods.

Additional considerations:

  • Close the street off to local traffic for pedestrian safety.
  • Engage neighbors in the planning phase to generate a community feel to the event.
  • Get local businesses involved by seeking out donation of supplies, door prizes and refreshments.
  • Have contractors bring their business cards and yard signs to promote their business.
  • Add some form of educational entertainment, e.g., easy to use tools for kids and parents.

Community project in action

Staff at the Social Development Commission (SDC) in the city of Milwaukee recently held a successful neighborhood event. They selected a city street where several houses had porches with peeling paint. Local certified lead abatement contractors volunteered to fix the hazards and demonstrated lead-safe work practices to the neighbors and landlords. SDC provided education to the families about blood lead testing and ways to prevent lead poisoning--even Peppi, the Lead-Free Clown, showed up to educate the kids about lead!

Image of Peppi the clown performing for children

"Pulling together as a community, we can get this work done and, in the meantime, protect our children," said Ramona Jensen, lead liaison, community health worker for SDC.

For more information on how to plan a similar community event, contact Ramona Jensen, 414-344-9010, Ext. 1706, or Ofelia Mondragon, 414-344-9010, Ext. 1704.


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Host a Training

Image of child playing with colored blocks.


Home visitors in Wisconsin spend time with families in their homes on a weekly basis. Many children also spend significant amounts of time in a child care provider's home. You can educate home visitors and child care providers about lead poisoning and how to prevent it. They can then pass that information on to the families they work with.

Basic concepts to emphasize in training include:

  • The importance of families getting their children tested for lead
  • The need to look around the home or child care property for chipping and peeling paint--an extra set of eyes to look out for lead
  • How enrolling properties in local housing programs to address potential lead hazards and other home and safety hazards such as mold and smoke alarms improves health and housing

The Wisconsin Home Visitor Program in the Department of Children and Families supports home visitors providing lead poisoning prevention education to families.

Tools and resources to educate:

The EPA and National Head Start Association developed easy-to-use materials for home visitors and parents. In addition to having materials in English, they are available in Spanish and other languages. These include:

Tools and incentives for child care providers:

FYI: Child care providers are required by state law to have NO chipping and peeling paint on interiors or exteriors of their property and NO products that have been recalled for lead. In addition, the provider is supposed to notify their child care inspector if they are planning to do renovation activity on their property.


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Reach the Public

Image of smiling children


Chose from sample templates of press releases and newsletter articles below. You can submit these to local newspapers, school communiques, health department newsletters, and so on. Add county-level or community-level specific information to make the severity of the problem tangible to members of the community. Include the following elements to generate a strong story.

Share local data:

  • Use data on the scope of the problem in your jurisdiction (e.g., percent of old housing, number of children exposed to lead, P-00817-2014, (PDF, 178 KB) ).
  • Employ phrases and data descriptions that are easy to comprehend or visualize. For example, if you had 300 kids tested and 30 of them have a level of 5 mcg/dL or more, describe it as “1 in 10 children tested were found to be elevated.”

Share local stories:

  • Add a quote from the health officer, housing agent or a local certified contractor.
  • Personal stories add the human drama. Ask a parent you’ve worked with to share their story or include a story where renovation to the home proactively prevented lead exposure.

Share local resources:

Provide ‘how-to’ prevention tips:

 Sample templates for local media coverage:


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Last Revised: September 27, 2016