Congratulations ClearCorps Detroit for their August celebration of 120 recently abated homes and the additional $1.25 million in state funding for lead prevention and cleanup. All of the renovated homes were located in the North End of Detroit around Woodward and there are plans for further abatement projects in this area in the future. This large abatement project was funded by the HUD (Housing and Urban Development) Healthy Homes Grant with additional support from the Kresge and Skillman Foundations. Great job ClearCorps, keep up the great work!!
Encouraged by Meeting with Harvey Hollins, Director of the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives.
This month, Tina Reynolds (Michigan Environmental Council), Sandra Turner-Handy (Michigan Environmental Council), Mary Sue Schottenfels (CLEARCorps Detroit), and Lyke Thompson (Center for Urban Studies, Wayne State University) met with Harvey Hollins III (Director of the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives) to ensure that increased funding for lead poisoning prevention is a policy priority in the state’s plan to help Michigan’s urban centers. It was a positive meeting. Director Hollins was well informed and very engaged. We are hopeful that lead poisoning prevention will figure into future plans as it relates to incarceration rates, educational achievement, and health outcomes. We will continue to engage Mr. Hollins in future discussions, and we are encouraged by his potential to bring about positive change in his role as Director of the Michigan Office of Urban and Metropolitan Initiatives. In the meantime, MIALSH remains hard at work recruiting new members and trying to influence policy at every level. Every little bit helps.
A Year of Changes Reveals New Opportunities for Advocates Across the State
The national fight against childhood lead poisoning continues in response to critical changes made in 2012. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) updated its childhood blood lead level recommendations for the first time since 1991. Based on 20 years of scientific evidence, the CDC acknowledged that even very low blood lead levels can have adverse effects on IQ, attention, and academic achievement. As a result, more than 7,200 Michigan children were identified as lead poisoned this past year. CDC also emphasized the need for reducing or eliminating lead sources in child environments. Removing lead paint hazards from Michigan’s housing stock is a top priority for lead poisoning prevention seeing as over 70% of the housing stock was built before 1978, the year lead paint was banned.While levels of concern have risen, federal funding for lead poisoning prevention have been drastically cut. CDC funding, a primary source of support for Michigan’s statewide efforts, was cut by 94% for fiscal year 2013. Today, lead removal programs at the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH), Wayne County, and the City of Grand Rapids are each supported by about $2.5 million in grant funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This reflects a 20% decrease in lead removal funds for MDCH from prior years. With more children identified as lead poisoned, and fewer funds available to help, these changes represent a major challenge for public health workers. Many state and local health departments have been forced to drastically cut or close down their lead programs.
In the face of adversity, advocates in Michigan, including members of the Safe Homes/Safe Kids: Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing, are optimistic. We remain determined and vocal in the fight against lead poisoning and look forward to a year of positive changes in 2013.
As federal funding sources for lead abatement continue to dry up, many counties and families in Michigan are feeling the cuts. Counties are having difficulty locating critical funds to employ local lead investigators. Check out the map to the right to see if your county has a local lead investigator. These are the counties who DO NOT: ALCONA, ALGER, ALLEGAN, ALPENA, ANTRIM, ARENAC, BARAGA, BARRY, BENZIE, BRANCH, CALHOUN, CASS, CHARLEVOIX, CHEBOYGAN, CHIPPEWA, CLARE, CRAWFORD, DELTA, DICKINSON, EATON, EMMET, GENESEE, GLADWIN, GOGEBIC, GRAND, HILLSDALE, HOUGHTON, HURON, INGHAM, IONIA, IOSCO, IRON, ISABELLA, JACKSON, KALAMAZOO, KALKASKA, KEWEENAW, LAKE, LAPEER, LEELANAU, LENAWEE, LIVINGSTON, LUCE, MACKINAC, MANISTEE, MARQUETTE, MASON, MECOSTA, MENOMINEE, MIDLAND, MISSAUKEE, MONTMORENCY, MUSKEGON, NEWAYGO, OCEANA, OGEMAW, ONTONAGON, OSCEOLA, OSCODA, OTSEGO, OTTAWA, PRESQUE, ROSCOMMON, SANILAC, ST JOSEPH, SCHOOLCRAFT, SHIAWASSEE, TUSCOLA, VAN BUREN, WEXFORD.
The Facts on Lead In Michigan
Approximately 70% of the housing stock in Michigan was built before 1978, the year in which lead paint was banned. In 2009, over 1,400 Michigan children were diagnosed with lead poisoning while another 11,300 Michigan children were found to have blood lead levels of 5 to 9 ug/dL. It is impossible to gauge the full extent of lead poisoning because only 20% of children are tested each year.
Conservative estimates show that childhood lead poisoning costs Michigan at least $3.2 to $4.85 billion for just the annual costs of lifetime earnings for children with lead poisoning. This estimate does not include the cost of medical treatment, special education, increased encounters with the juvenile system, or reduced high school completion.
Considerable progress has occurred in the past 20 years in reducing the number of lead poisoned children, however, necessary funding is gradually getting eliminated. Currently, we are seeing a decline in testing, health consultation and elimination of lead hazards.
Where is the Lead?
We are still suffering from lack of knowledge and regulation of this dangerous element. Sources of lead are numerous, and surprisingly common. They include:
Lead paint in houses built before 1978
Calcium supplements (from bone meal, dolomite or oyster shells)Water from old plumbing fixtures with lead soldering
Lead in dust and soil
Old painted toys and furniture
Hobbies that use lead products, such as stained glass windows and lead fishing sinkers
Exposure at work (parents may bring lead home on their clothes)
Toy jewelry, such as from dollar stores or vending machines
Foods made or stored in lead-glazed pottery or lead crystal
Certain imported products, for example:
Colored newspaper and food wrappers (such as for bread and candy)
New, painted toys
Snacks or candies (such as Chapulines—grasshoppers—from the Mexican state of Oaxaca, and Bolirindo lollipops)
Medicines and home remedies
Food cans with lead soldering
Products that we—and our kids—handle every day are potential lead sources. Although paint from homes that have not been updated, renovated, or remodeled is the primary source, lead can enter our lives in other ways.
Aside from the frequent encounters that we have with lead-tainted materials, why else is this such a serious problem, even years after the top source of lead ceased to be manufactured? Apart from the many common household goods that can be poisonous, the lead present in old paints can chip off of window frames, walls, and doors, and be ingested or inhaled. Without proper abatement of the hazard, it remains a potential danger to anyone who comes into contact.
Complications of Lead Poisoning
Children are considered to be lead poisoned if a venous blood test finds 10 or more micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. Blood levels of 5 to 9 ug/dL have also been found to cause adverse health effects. Some complications of lead include :
Behavioral problems, including aggressiveness, hyperactivity, and lethargy, all of which can result in learning struggles
Appetite and weight loss