Tuesday, April 16, 2019

High Lead Exposures Cause Families to Evacuate Homes

Did you know it costs $5,000-$20,000 to remove lead from a home? Many residents don’t have this kind of money to eliminate lead hazards in their homes. In the alternative, moving and trying to find a lead-safe home may not be easy either. Relocation costs can restrict low-income families from moving to safer housing and may be hard to find. Keeping in mind that each case is different, the average relocation cost in Detroit is $2,000 per family and this includes application fees, first month’s rent, moving costs, and utility turn-on.

In Cleveland, Ohio, state grants are now available to families in need of financial help to relocate to lead safe homes. The grants up to $1,500 are centered on short term emergencies for low-income families with children or pregnant women. Prior to June of 2018, Ohio families could apply for assistance but had to show proof that they were being evicted. The requirements have changed and the county now accepts multiple forms of proof of need. This kind of program may be a good fit for Michigan families feeling trapped by a home with too high of costs to make lead safe.

Currently in Michigan, childhood lead poisoning is being addressed through a pilot program in Detroit. Mary Sue Schottenfels and her team from ClearCorps are spearheading this pilot. She will comment on the current Detroit pilot program where families are spending less money by relocating rather than abating their homes at an upcoming MIALSH monthly coalition call.

It is important to note that relocation is cheaper than abatement if there is safe housing to move families to in their communities. The average cost to lead abate a home in Michigan is $25,000 but in cities with larger housing, such as Detroit, it is much higher. The dollar amount depends on the number of windows, doors, corroded pipes, amount of siding, lead-based paint and increases the more square footage the house has. Although lead removal is expensive, these remedies are capable of lasting up to 20 years, yet need to be re-checked annually depending on which abatement activities were completed. Lead abatement may not be the solution for every family so we need to keep other alternatives on the table while trying to be frugal with our dollars. That is why the Detroit relocation pilot is so important.

For more information on the ongoing relocation pilot program in Detroit, check out this link:

Monday, April 1, 2019

2019 Lead Education Day Rocks the Capitol

Our 9th annual Lead Education Day at the Michigan State Capitol had another great turnout with over 100 participants RSVPd from all areas of Michigan. Our goal was to educate Legislators on the issues of lead poisoning in the state. Coordinated by the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Homes (MIALSH) and the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC), the day was filled with meaningful conversations with lawmakers, a keynote speaker, a parents’ perspective all in the historic Boji Tower, and many networking opportunities.

The event included 16 teams with a knowledgeable team leader as we met with at least 70 legislative offices.  Each group was purposefully organized to consist of diverse geography considering the experience of the individuals. Team members shared their knowledge with lawmakers and their staff on MIALSH policy priorities. Some of these topics included universal lead testing for all Michigan children aged one and two, finding dedicated funding, and lead-based paint inspections for properties built before 1978 intended for occupancy. Teams also provided all members of the State Senate and State House offices folders full of valuable articles on current lead poisoning and prevention findings and data.

Our annual Lead Education Day is a fun and purposeful way for the voices of engaged Michiganders to be heard by legislators. We hope to see our efforts prompt positive change and success around these critical issues of lead poisoning prevention and look forward to next year’s event!

Monday, February 4, 2019

Join Us at the Capitol to Help End Lead Poisoning in Michigan

Come join us for Lead Education Day on Thursday, March 14th from 8:00am to 4:00pm at the Michigan State Capitol! This event will be coordinated by the Michigan Environmental Council (MEC) and members from the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Homes (MIALSH).  We will be educating lawmakers on how to end the issues of childhood lead poisoning in Michigan. This event includes:
·         Joining small teams with a seasoned team leader and meeting with state legislative leaders to share knowledge about lead poisoning prevention opportunities and challenges in Michigan
·         A light breakfast and a hot lunch with an inspiring keynote speaker
·         Carpools and ride shares available for those in Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids, Detroit, and surrounding areas
·         A pre Lead Education Day training webinar (which will be recorded to listen to at any time) outlining what to expect the day of, a review of our talking points, and answering your questions to prepare you for the exciting and worthwhile day ahead
·         A “capitol steps” group photo to remember the day

This is a great way to meet new people who care about lead poisoning prevention and network with other advocates! A wide variety of people come including lead abatement professionals, contractors, families, state and local government officials. Kids are welcome as well.

The deadline to register is March 6th, 2019

Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Lead Poisoning in Preschoolers

Although high-quality preschools have been proven to help children with insufficient cognitive developments, this is not the case when it comes to lead poisoning. For instance, children at high-quality preschools in Ohio cannot catch up with their classmates in certain subjects at school. Children who have a past of lead exposure have a challenging time keeping up with their peers, regardless of what preschool they attend. According to research by Case Western Reserve University, children with lead poisoning were half as likely as their schoolmates to attain “on track” scores in literacy and language when they start kindergarten. The researchers discovered another displeasing result: From 2011 to 2016, only one in five children beginning kindergarten who were qualified for Medicaid were tested for lead poisoning at both ages one and two years old in Cleveland public schools.
Every student at the George L. Forbes Early Learning Center is required to partake in a lead test before entering school. The teachers and health coordinator receive this information to further educate and modify the students’ learning experiences. The Case Western Reserve University concluded that the majority of children have experienced at least one screening for lead poisoning before starting kindergarten. However, for those attending different preschools and did not partake in a test can develop long term health risks. They reported that by not testing your child, it can disguise the incremental effects of lead poisoning over a lifetime. Researchers suspect one reason some parents fail to take their kids to get tested is the challenge of making the extra trip or staying the whole duration of the visit.
If there is no continuous exposure to lead, it can leave the body after about a month. However, the toxins can last in the brain for up to two years. Kindergarteners are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, including irreversible damage to their brain development. A child’s brain is rapidly developing and exposure to lead is particularly harmful to the nervous system, creating deficits in multiple functioning areas. Lead poisoning has a negative impact on test performance, health, and cognitive development.