August 4, 2003
While visiting health care facilities offering lead testing to children in two communities today, Governor Jennifer M. Granholm announced that her administration will take immediate actions to help prevent lead poisoning in Michigan’s children.
|ACTION PLAN - (PDF 1mb)|
|Childhood Lead Poisoning Protection:
A Call to Action
Lead poisoning is one of the most common environmental child health problems in the United States and affects as many as 20,000 children under the age of six in Michigan. If undetected, lead poisoning can cause permanent developmental disabilities, brain damage, even death. Children encounter lead by ingesting lead paint chips, dust from household remodeling projects, or through lead contamination found in water and soil.
“Our children are our future,” Granholm said during stops in Saginaw and Detroit. “Protecting their health today means that we’re protecting the health of our entire state tomorrow. Lead poisoning is 100 percent incurable, but 100 percent preventable.”
The “Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention: A Call to Action” plan identifies short and long-term strategies to detect and reduce lead poisoning in Michigan, including nine strategies the state will undertake immediately. Included in the immediate strategies is a package of legislative bills expected to be introduced this fall and four initiatives to be undertaken in cooperation with various departments of state government.
The state initiatives include:
“Reducing the occurrence of lead poisoning in our communities requires a team effort,” said Wisdom. “The state wants to partner with federal and local officials to make sure we are leveraging all possible funding to address this critical health risk.”
The Governor also called upon the Legislature to be a partner in this effort by passing legislation to:
The bi-partisan package of bills is expected to be introduced this fall. A number of co-sponsors, including Rep. Carl Williams (D-Saginaw), Rep. Artina Tinsley Hardman (D-Detroit), Rep. Chris Kolb (D-Ann Arbor), Rep. Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), Rep. Stephen Ehardt (R-Lexington), and Sen. Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit), Sen. Martha G. Scott (D-Highland Park), Sen. Mark Schauer (D-Battle Creek), and Sen. Beverly S. Hammerstrom (R-Temperance), have identified this issue as a key priority.
"Governor Granholm's decision to address the severity of this issue by coming to Saginaw signifies how much of a problem childhood lead poisoning is in our community," said Rep. Carl Williams (D-Saginaw). "Our kids deserve better. We need to make sure that our children are being screened and tested for lead poisoning before it's too late. I am going to work with the Governor and the Legislature to accomplish that goal."
“It is absolutely imperative to the safety of our children that we make sure they live in housing that is found to be lead-safe or lead free,” said Rep. Alberta Tinsley Hardman (D-Detroit). “I’m looking forward to working with the Governor and the Legislature to accomplish this goal.”
The action plan was developed by a lead abatement workgroup organized by the Governor to reduce lead poisoning in young children. The workgroup included participants from the MDCH, MSHDA, DEQ, DIT, and DMB.
“This plan is a huge leap forward in protecting our children from the effects of lead poisoning,” Granholm said. “We’re not waiting to take action – we’re linking arms across government and across communities to help our children today.”
In addition to the nine immediate action steps, the plan also outlines additional short and long-term steps the state will take to further reduce lead poisoning.
The state estimates that roughly 50 percent of all children under the age of six are either Medicaid-eligible and/or live in high-risk neighborhoods where there are a significant number of older homes with lead-based paint. It is estimated that more than 400,000 children should be tested for lead poisoning and that as many as 14,600 additional children are afflicted with lead poisoning but have not been tested.