Hood, Lawmakers Fight to Eliminate Threat of Lead Poisoning
LANSING, Mich., Feb. 4, 2020 — State Reps. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) and fellow House Democratic lawmakers held a press conference this morning to unveil their comprehensive Healthy Homes, Healthy Families package to protect Michigan families from the threats posed by lead poisoning from some of the most common household sources.
“The nation watched the devastation caused by the Flint Water Crisis unfold in real time; but the truth is, families in communities throughout the state continue to suffer from a lead poisoning epidemic that has been decades in the making,” said Hood. “It’s time for us to take bold action to keep our homes free from lead contamination from all its sources — not only for our children today, but for the generations of Michiganders to come.”
In 2013, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ranked Michigan as the fifth-worst in the nation for the rate of childhood lead poisoning, due primarily to lead exposure in the home. House Bills 5359-5367 and 5406 aim to eliminate the dangers of lead poisoning from sources such as lead-based paint, contaminated soil, toys and cosmetics.
“Children are at the highest risk for lead poisoning and are also the most vulnerable to a wide range of persistent health effects that can last their entire lifetime,” said state Rep. John Cherry (D-Flint), who introduced HB 5365 in the package to require lead poisoning screenings for minors. “If we want to get serious about addressing these dangers, we need to do what we can to eradicate lead exposure while ensuring children with lead poisoning receive the health and developmental interventions they may need as early as possible.”
The Healthy Homes, Healthy Families package would lower the threshold for the lead action level from 10 micrograms/deciliter to the CDC recommended level of 5 micrograms/deciliter. It would also require lead-based paint inspections for the sale or transfer of homes built before 1978, shift the burden of proof of lead-based paint hazards in rental housing units from tenants to landlords, and provide tax credits for qualified lead professionals licensed by the Department of Health and Human Services that maintain good standing with practicing lead abatement strategies.
“As many as 100,000 homes in Michigan are estimated to be at high-risk of lead-based hazards, many owned and occupied by families living below the poverty line,” said state Rep. Sherry Gay-Dagnogo (D-Detroit), who introduced HB 5362 to require lead-based paint inspections and abatement for rental units when local governments receive a complaint from a lessee. “Every Michigander, no matter their financial situation, deserves to feel safe from harm within their own home. This package gives us the means to protect our communities from lead poisoning, we need only the courage to act.”
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A fact sheet outlining the full package can be found by clicking the link below: