Hundreds of Kent County children are needlessly poisoned by lead every year. To help children thrive and succeed in life, we need to ensure that the homes where they live are free from lead hazards. Lead poisoning is 100% preventable. If homes are made lead safe, children will be protected.
What is Lead?
Lead is a naturally occurring metal that has been added to various products, most notably lead-based paint.
When ingested, lead travels through the blood stream to the brain, nervous system, kidneys, and other organs. Lead can then be stored in bones, leading to long-term exposure.
Since 1978, Federal and State regulations have banned the sale of lead-based paint. However, lead is still found in the majority of older homes and in the soil around them.
An estimated 90% of all childhood lead poisoning cases in Kent County are the result of deteriorating lead-based paint and lead dust found in the home. This dangerous dust can be found in any home built before 1978, the year lead-based paint was banned. More than 85% of the housing stock in the City of Grand Rapids, and many others throughout Kent County, were built before 1978.
Who is at Risk?
Infants and toddlers have the highest risk of being lead poisoned, especially when they begin to crawl and become mobile. All children living in older homes or high-risk communities should be tested at their one and two-year well child visits.
There are no reliable symptoms of lead poisoning. Waiting for symptoms is dangerous, as visible symptoms come too late —after long-lasting damage to the child. Instead of relying on symptoms, parents should get a blood test for their child at one and two years of age as recommended.
Lead poisoning in children causes life-long brain damage. Even small amounts of lead can have negative effects on children:
- Brain damage
- Poor physical growth and development
- Social problems
- Behavioral problems
- Problems in school, learning disabilities
Lead poisoning is 100% preventable! Making homes lead-safe prevents children from being poisoned.
Click here for lead services for families
Click here for lead services for landlords
Click here for the Get the Lead Out! home repair program.
To learn more about making homes lead-safe, contact the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan at (616) 241-3300.