Laws expected to save lives, improve health outcomes

LANSING, Mich., Feb. 8, 2024 — The Michigan House of Representatives’ Health Policy committee recently passed a comprehensive package of bills aimed at enhancing lead abatement measures and safeguarding the well-being of children across the state. The proposed bill package, comprising House Bills 45325368 and 5369, is sponsored by state Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids), state Rep. Julie M. Rogers (D-Kalamazoo), and state Rep. Karen Whitsett (D-Detroit).

The bills are set to amend the Public Health Code, with a focus on revising the threshold for elevated blood lead levels in children to mirror the standard set by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) and introduce changes to lead abatement and mitigation protocols for various activities, including renovation of homes built before 1978.

“Even now, children across the state are dealing with the life-changing consequences of lead exposure,” Hood said. “For a state that has now had two of the worst lead-related tragedies in recent memory, we must do better. Kids and families are falling through the cracks, and we need to better equip our public health system to catch them. We need to test, educate and support our kids, making sure that every child facing lifelong developmental issues from an entirely preventable risk gets the resources and attention they need to live healthy, happy lives.”

“As a practicing physical therapist, I have personal experience working with individuals who have had lead exposure and have seen the devastating effects on their physical well being,” Rogers said. “I am proud we are leading on mitigating the impact of, and ultimately ending, preventable lead poisoning in our state.”

“Lead poisoning leads to many issues like impacting IQs, increasing rates of ADHD, damaging memories and impulse control,” Whitsett said. “Adults can be impacted by chronic diseases along with strokes and hypertension. Our communities continue to suffer and have yet to make the news. Health and economic disparities will only worsen if we are unable to do something.”

The proposed legislation has undergone thorough examination by the Health Policy Committee, with health care providers and families affected testifying in support. The bills are anticipated to bring Michigan in line with current best practices, fostering a safer environment for children and reinforcing the state’s commitment to public health. If passed by the House and Senate, this legislation promises to be a milestone in the ongoing efforts to address lead hazards and protect the health and well-being of Michigan’s children.