The Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing is a group of concerned health, housing and environmental professionals, local business owners, community and child advocates, parents and others committed to reducing and eliminating childhood lead poisoning and its adverse effects in Michigan, by identifying a stable and renewable source of funding to provide education, testing of children, and abatement of lead hazards in homes.
Our ultimate goal is to completely eliminate lead poisoning across the state of Michigan. We hope to accomplish this goal by:
- Educating parents, rental property owners, residential contractors, and others about lead hazards, and how to eliminate them
- Testing all high-risk children for lead poisoning
- Identifying and abating lead hazards in our homes, daycares, and other places occupied by young children
- Providing support to local health agencies in developing financial and human capacity to address local cases of lead poisoning and hazard assessment
- Enhancing the Statewide Housing Registry for Lead
- Maximizing property owner incentives to identify and remediate lead hazards, and enhance capacity to prosecute rental property owners who knowingly rent out hazardous houses
- Securing sustainable, dedicated funding for lead poisoning prevention and control
- Enhancing effectiveness of government programs
- Continuing to monitor progress in all other lead poisoning prevention and control activities, by cooperating with governmental and private organizations
Is lead poisoning in Michigan still a public health concern? Lead poisoning causes irreversible cognitive damage and has been linked to learning disabilities and violent behavior in children and adults. A child is considered to be lead poisoned if a venous blood test finds 10 or more micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. Over 1,226 Michigan children were diagnosed with lead poisoning in 2010. Lead poisoning remains the number one environmental health hazard for young children. Another 8,223 Michigan children were found to have blood lead levels of 5 to 9 ug/dL, levels that recent studies have found to cause adverse health effects including loss of IQ points. However, only 21% of Michigan children were tested in 2010, leaving the rest vulnerable to lead poisoning without anyone knowing. Conservative estimates show that childhood lead poisoning costs Michigan at least $3.2 to $4.85 billion a year for just the annual loss of lifetime earnings for children with lead poisoning. This estimate does not include other costs such as medical treatment, special education and encounters with the juvenile justice system. Lead poisoned children are seven times more likely to drop out of high school. YES! Lead poisoning in Michigan is still a significant public health concern.
There is an overwhelming need to sustain the ongoing state wide efforts to ensure that at risk children are tested at an early age and to eliminate lead paint hazards wherever they are found. In recent years, financial pressures across the State of Michigan have caused funding for lead poisoning prevention work including blood testing of at risk children to become severely limited. In response, multiple groups of citizens have been exploring ways to guarantee a sustainable revenue stream for lead poisoning prevention and thus, the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing convened.
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