Forum to Focus on Protecting Children From Lead Poisoning

May 25, 2018

Eliminating lead poisoning hazards.  That’s the purpose behind an upcoming forum focusing on protecting children from lead contamination issues.  

“Lead poisoning can cause brain damage and if we have less exposure we’ll see more success in school and more success in life.”

That’s Paul Haan, Executive Director with the Healthy Homes Coalition of Western Michigan. He’s also on the Michigan Child lead Elimination Commission. The Commission’s charge is hosting two forums along with the Kent County Health Department.  They’re seeking input on their five year action plan.

“These are folks that are taking a high level view on what can be done to address this particular issue. So it’s really a listening session to hear from local communities about what’s going to work for them.”

The forums will be held May 31st at the Kent County Health Department. One from 3 to 5:30 p.m. , the second from 6 to 8:30 p.m.  The Commission’s action plan will build upon the work of the former Child Lead poisoning Elimination Board.  The goal is a state free of lead exposure for Michigan children.

“We know that the last date, for which we have data, 2016, that there were 617 kids with elevated blood lead levels in Kent County. A real strong concentration in three zip codes where two thirds of those kids live.”

Haan says there will also be a series of forums in addition to the two in Kent County.  They will be held in all regions of the state from May through July of this year.

Then the commission will prioritize options and comments from the public input…

“At the end of the day, we are looking for suggestions that will end up with less kids with elevated blood levels in the state of Michigan.  We’d like to get to zero.  We’d like to see no kids lead poisoned and It’s going to take all hands on deck, many, many bright ideas  to solve that particular problem.”