There is no safe level of lead exposure. Lead impairs children’s brain development and can trigger serious and irreversible learning, and behavioral problems. In very high doses lead exposure can be fatal.
Thousands of children in Michigan and our neighboring states are lead poisoned every year. In 2021, Michigan ranked 3rd in a nationwide assessment of blood-lead levels in children; 78% of children who were tested had lead in their blood.
Michigan and other Great Lakes states have a high percentage of homes built before 1978, when lead paint was banned. Old homes can continue to expose families to lead. Adding to the sources of lead exposure, this region has a history of heavy industrial production and aging, crumbling water pipes. Further, lead poisoning disproportionately impacts Black and brown communities due to racist housing practices of the past and today that lead to a lack of safe, healthy, and affordable homes.
Our Policy Priorities
Universal Testing of all children at one and two years of age will ensure that all lead poisoned children have access to the services and resources that they need and that no child falls through the cracks (passed October 2023).
Filter First will put filtered drinking stations in schools and daycare centers. Water sitting for extended periods in old pipes becomes saturated with lead.
Renovation, Repair and Painting Act (RRP): States, like Michigan, should take over the enforcement of the federal Renovation, Repair and Painting Act to ensure that contractors are properly trained to work on homes with lead paint hazards.
Testing Homes: Every home built before 1978 should be tested for lead at the time of sale or transfer of lease. The best way to protect children is to test their homes and remediate lead hazards before a child is poisoned.
Webinar: Lead as an Environmental Justice Issue
Lead poisoning affects millions of people each year but does not affect children and their families equally. Children from low-income families or children who are Black and brown are affected disproportionately more than other racial groups.