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Champions for kids’ health honored at MEC

Coalition honors eight Michigan lawmakers for leadership in helping eradicate childhood lead poisoning
Dec 11, 2013
Michigan legislators instrumental in securing funds to reduce childhood lead poisoning are being honored today by the Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Housing (MIALSH) coalition in a ceremony in Lansing.

The $1.25 million in lead poisoning prevention funds for the state’s 2013-2014 budget came after multiple years of lawmaker outreach and education by the MIALSH coalition. The money will help renovate homes with dangerous lead hazards to make them safe for children.

Tina Reynolds, health policy director with the Michigan Environmental Council – a coalition steering committee member – said that the funding will demonstrably reduce the number of poisoned children in Michigan.

“This is an entirely solvable problem. We know how to keep children safe from lead poisoning. We simply need to resources and the will to do it. These legislators have stepped forward in a huge way to help make that happen."

Being honored are:
  •  Sen. Bruce Caswell, R-Hillsdale
  •  Sen. Dave Hildenbrand, R-Lowell
  •  Sen. Vince Gregory, D-Southfield
  •  Sen. John Moolenaar, R-Midland
  •  Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit
  •  Rep. John Olumba, I-Detroit
  •  Rep. Matt Lori, R-Constantine
  • Rep. Rob VerHeulen, R-Walker
The lawmakers will receive certificates and thanks from the coalition during its annual meeting at the offices of Michigan Environmental Council near the State Capitol.

More than 6,700 Michigan children have unsafe levels of lead in their blood according to the Centers for Disease Control. Many of the poisonings occur in older homes, where lead paint peels and flakes from walls and windowsills and can be ingested by kids who are attracted to the sweet taste.

Lead poisoning can lead to cognitive and memory problems, anemia, kidney damage, hypertension, nerve damage, sperm abnormalities, endocrine system disruption, aggression and other behavioral issues.

Leaded paint was banned in 1978, but close to 70 percent of the state’s homes were built before then, and most still contain lead hazards.

Conservative estimates are that childhood lead poisoning costs Michigan at least $3.2 to $4.85 billion for just the annual lost lifetime earnings for children with lead poisoning. This estimate does not include the cost of medical treatment, special education, increased encounters with the juvenile system, or reduced high school completion.

(Media are welcome at the awards presentation, which begins at 4:30 p.m. at the Michigan Environmental Council office, 602 W. Ionia, Lansing, MI. Office #517-487-9539)

Hugh McDiarmid Jr.: 248-660-4300
Tina Reynolds: 517-898-4822
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