LANSING, Mich., Oct. 14, 2021 — State Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) held a press conference today with state Rep. Sarah Anthony (D-Lansing) to discuss a package of bills aiming to enhance identification, prevention and treatment of lead exposures.
“From the water we drink to lead paint in our homes, lead exposure is a risk for children and other vulnerable populations across the state,” Hood said. “We haven’t done all we can to eliminate this preventable tragedy for families. Now, nearly 80% of children in Michigan have lead in their blood, the third highest concentration in the country. After the Flint Water Crisis, we told ourselves ‘never again,’ but we know from Benton Harbor’s recent news that we have failed our promise to the people of Michigan. That’s why I believe so firmly that this legislation must pass. One child exposed to lead is one child too many. We need clear standards, clear rules and clear policies. This is one area of the law where we can no longer tolerate ambiguity.”
“When it comes to environmental toxins, like lead, we need evidence-based policy,” Anthony said. “This package will provide lead screenings for those most likely to be affected and establish procedures to limit accidental exposure, for instance, notifying families when they purchase an older home. The package updates the definitions of lead exposure in accordance with current federal standards. It also takes a proactive approach to treating children who’ve already been exposed. It is a moral crime to continue to allow the people of our state to be exposed to this toxic material. We need to pass this legislation as soon as possible.”
Other bills in the package would require physicians to receive training in how to treat lead exposure, update codes for renovators and support pre-renovation education programs.
Tina Reynolds, coalition manager with the Michigan Alliance of Lead Safe Homes; Dana Knight, trustee and policy lead with the West Michigan Healthy Homes Coalition; Sarah Edgington, secretary and policy co-lead with the West Michigan Healthy Homes Coalition; and TaNiccia Henry, grandparent of a lead-affected child in Detroit, joined the representatives.