95.3 / 88.5 FM Grand Rapids and 95.3 FM Muskegon
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Lead exposure a statewide issue, report says


Amid Flint’s water crisis hitting national headlines, research highlighting issues with lead exposure across the state includes areas of west Michigan.

Close to one in 10 children in certain Grand Rapids zip codes tested positive for lead exposure in 2014. Parts of Muskegon also reflect higher-than-average exposure.

That’s according to research published by Bridge Magazine through The Center for Michigan.

Mike Wilkinson reported the numbers out.

"And what you find is there are there are still some high areas. Parts of Grand Rapids are high, many parts of Detroit are very high, and still places – Jackson, Michigan; Adrian, Michigan," he says. "There is no pattern – except if you look at them, and the state is even kind of cognizant of it – it’s places where there typically is much older housing stock." 

"And unfortunately, [that] still is plaguing people in some of the poorest, most vulnerable neighborhoods."

Wilkinson says a variety of conditions contribute to exposure in Michigan – lead paint and lead residue in dust and soil being the largest factors.

And he cautions against drawing conclusions of the mapping with the crisis in Flint.

"I think that some people think when they look at our map - and they see these areas of red and lighter shades of red - that the water is the cause. It is not the cause in these places," Wilkinson says. "We did the story because given what was going on in Flint, we wanted to talk about the dangers that remain ever-present with lead." 

"They [lead exposure issues in the report] are deal-able problems – you can go in and take care of that. In Flint, it’s so much more difficult to get at." 

You can find the report and map at BridgeMI.com.

Hilary is a General Assignment and Enterprise reporter for WGVU Public Media. She joined WGVU in September 2014 after several years of experience as a local news reporter, anchor and photojournalist in Midland, Saginaw and Bay counties. She's also worked as a financial and business reporter and audio field producer.
Related Content