SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - Illinois officials will use Lead Poisoning Prevention Week next week to raise awareness about a problem that is worse here than in many states.
The Illinois Department of Public Health says it identified 3,300 children with elevated lead levels in their blood last year. That's 1 of the highest numbers in the country.
But the department reports a significant decline in children under age 6 with lead poisoning - from 32% in 1996 to just more than 1% last year.
Federal officials say nearly a quarter-million children nationwide have lead levels high enough to damage their health.
Lead paint and its dust are major sources of poisoning in children. Illinois has an estimated 2 million homes built before 1978 - when lead-based paint was banned.