Inside Michigan’s push to eliminate child lead poisoning

Lead paint can


GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Since the lead crisis in Flint, lead poisoning continues to be a top concern of parents across the state.

Paul Haan from the Healthy Homes Coalition says the latest moves in Lansing lay down a road map for preventing future lead poisoning in Michigan, but there’s still a lot of hard work to come.

The amendment to Michigan’s Children’s Health Insurance Program introduces $24 million in federal funds to address lead health issues.

In addition to treating and caring for those already exposed to lead, the money will go toward ensuring kids avoid lead exposure from the start.

“My hope is that in this initiative we will also be saying to parents in the future let’s check that environment and make sure it’s safe. We don’t have the tools right now to do that for everyone rapidly. We need to get there,” said Haan.

While Flint’s water crisis put the issue on the radar of parents nationwide, lead doesn’t just lurk in water.

In 2013, Grand Rapids’ 49507 zip code was home to the most lead-poisoned children in the state. The 49503 zip code was also a trouble area.

In this Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, registered nurse Brian Jones draws a blood sample from a student at Eisenhower Elementary School in Flint, Mich.
In this Jan. 26, 2016 file photo, registered nurse Brian Jones draws a blood sample from a student at Eisenhower Elementary School in Flint, Mich.

“What we know is that many, many children are poisoned by other sources of lead in the environment, principally the lead-based paint in housing, the dust that’s in those old houses that comes from that paint and the soil around those houses as well as the water,” explained Haan.

A report released by a state board Thursday includes more than 100 recommendations to curb the problem. One of those recommendations could affect all Michigan parents of young children- a move that would require all children are tested for lead between 9 and 12 months and 24 to 36 months of age.