Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention

Our goal: a lead-free Milwaukee

Sixteenth Street has been protecting children from lead poisoning for nearly 20 years

Since 1996, the Department has partnered with the WI Department of Health Services and the Milwaukee Health Department to develop and implement a one-of-a-kind, bilingual community lead outreach program that combines free home-based outreach and testing, education, and follow-up medical care for children with lead poisoning.

Lead outreach workers visit more than 500 homes over the course of a season.

Approximately 350 children are tested for lead in the home yearly.

Approximately 6,400 children are tested for lead across all Sixteenth Street programs and sites yearly.

lead rates

Our staff goes directly out to the community to ensure that every family living on Milwaukee’s near south side is aware of the hazards related to deteriorating lead paint, specifically lead poisoning. We provide free testing for elevated blood lead levels to all children under the age of 6, who are especially susceptible to absorbing and retaining lead due to their small size and growing bodies. Lead poisoning, which is often undetected, can lead to:

  • decreased bone and muscle growth
  • poor muscle coordination
  • damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
  • speech and language problems
  • development delays
  • seizures and unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)

Many of the houses in the area were built around 1900 using lead-based paint. Deteriorating paint chips and dust are the common source of lead poisoning for small children.

For a blood lead level test or lead safe education call 414-897-5592

Department staff teach homeowners, tenants and landlords how to identify lead paint hazards in their homes and explain the health risks associated with deteriorating lead paint. Staff also assist in developing maintenance plans to keep homes lead-safe, sharing abatement strategies, and identifying training opportunities and other resources to permanently remove lead hazards.
After maintenance plans are developed with families and property owners, Department staff follow up with them to ensure that the abatement strategy has been properly implemented. The training and follow-up teach families and property owners how to identify lead hazards and implement lead abatement strategies on their own.

For a home evaluation or lead safe home education call 414-897-5592

Greenfield Building
Lower Level
1337 S. Cesar E. Chavez Drive
Milwaukee, WI 53204

Director of Environmental Health
Jamie Ferschinger



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This health center receives HHS funding and has Federal Public Health Service (PHS) deemed status with respect to certain health or health-related claims, including medical malpractice claims, for itself and its covered individuals.

© 2019 Sixteenth Street Community Health Centers

Milwaukee: 414-672-1353 | Waukesha: 262-408-2530