Lt. Gov. Brian Calley: Eliminating child lead exposure requires committed efforts of all

Calley unveils recommendations of Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board

Thursday, Nov. 17, 2016

LANSING, Mich. – In order to eliminate child lead exposure in Michigan, a greater focus on primary prevention tactics will be crucial for success, Lt. Gov. Brian Calley said today.

Gov. Rick Snyder formed the Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board in May to design a long-term strategy for addressing child lead exposure and poisoning in Michigan. Snyder appointed Calley to chair the board and asked for recommendations by November.

“The impact of lead exposure on a child can be life-altering. By taking a proactive and coordinated statewide approach, we can begin targeting lead hazards instead of relying on reactive tactics after a child has been exposed,” Calley said. 

The board developed a comprehensive roadmap that included both primary and secondary prevention strategies within five key areas:

  • Testing of children for elevated blood lead levels;
  • Follow-up monitoring and services, including case management;
  • Environmental lead investigations;
  • Remediation and abatement; and
  • Dashboards and reporting.

The report includes more than 100 recommendations to address these issues including:

  • Require that all children are tested for lead poisoning between 9 and 12 months and 24 to 36 months of age.
  • Ensure that all medical professionals caring for children receive professional education regarding lead testing and elevated blood lead level management.
  • Develop and manage a centralized data and reporting system to track cases of children with elevated blood levels to determine which follow-up services should be or are being provided.
  • Support continued research and development of policies for water testing in homes and interpreting the results.
  • Adopt a consistent, statewide code enforcement model that is proactive and addresses exposure from lead-based paint and its causes.
  • Convene a meeting to discuss updating federal regulations affecting remediation and abatement with Environmental Protection Agency and Housing and Urban Development officials.
  • Collaborate with state departments to increase the lead abatement workforce in Michigan.
  • Broaden training and outreach to homeowners and tenants regarding lead safety on home projects, health effects of lead exposure and availability of testing and remediation options.
  • Explore under what conditions the state could publish addresses of homes that have historically been locations where poisoned children and/or lead hazards were identified to prevent further exposure.
  • Require information on lead testing and lead poisoning levels to be widely disseminated.
  • Create a permanent commission that will work with all stakeholders to coordinate child lead exposure elimination efforts across the state.
  • Utilize existing programs whose primary focus may not be lead elimination to support efforts to reduce exposure risk.  
  • Develop protocols for improving collection of data, data analysis and data sharing to better identify risks of lead exposure.
  • Create pilot programs to assess primary prevention practices in local communities and assess the impact on child lead exposure rates.
  • Develop protocols to identify residence “hot zones” where young children are being exposed to lead and implement these protocols across Michigan.

The board included individuals with various professional backgrounds to provide a solid cross-section of support, including Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha of Hurley Children’s Hospital and Michigan State University in Flint.

“Current blood screening practices create gaps in data and can miss groups of exposed children. Testing every child in the state is the best way to identify exposure and then to target elimination,” Hanna-Attisha said.

To download the full report, visit Michigan.gov/calley.

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