In Case of Emergency

If a child has severe symptoms of lead poisoning, such as vomiting or seizures, get immediate help by calling 911.  If a child is suspected of being exposed to lead, make an appointment with the child's health care provider or county health department to have a blood test done.

Lead

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.

 

The Source

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.

 

Symptoms

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.

 

Health Impacts

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

 

Solutions  

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.

 

 

Did You Know...

Childhood lead poisoning causes irreversible brain damage, but is 100% preventable!

Resources

State of Michigan Certified Lead Inspectors(38 KB)

A list of State of Michigan Certified Lead Inspectors and Risk Assessors in the (616) area code as of 7/7/2016.

MDCH Guidelines for Testing Kids(20 KB)

Guidance from the Michigan Department of Community Health about testing children for lead poisoning.

AAP Guidelines for Elevated Lead Levels(112 KB)

Guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units on how to respond to children whose blood lead test results are higher than 5.0 micrograms per deciliter.  

Lead Safe Cleaning(1.3 MB)

A guide to lead-safe cleaning that helps reduce lead dust levels in the home.

Check Your House for Lead(324 KB)

A checklist to make sure your house is lead-safe.

Guide to Lead Safe Renting(446 KB)

What to look for when shopping for a new apartment or rental home.

MDHHS Lead Safe Home Program(279 KB)

A Michigan Department of Community Health program that offers inspections and repairs for lead. City of Grand Rapids residents should click here instead.

Lead Paint Safety(1.4 MB)

A Field Guide for Painting, Home Maintenance and Renovation Work. Great guide for DIY home renovation.

Join the Healthy Homes Team! Job Openings.

Healthy Homes has a number of job openings. We will be hiring an Administrative Assistant to begin work July 1 or sooner. We are also taking resumes for a Public Relations position and a Community Organizing position, with projected start dates in July.  All positions are full time.

 


Healthy Homes Issues Lead In Water Report

The Healthy Homes Coalition partnered with the Environmental Defense Fund in 2016 to take a deep look into the safety of drinking water in Grand Rapids. Specifically, the groups were interested in knowing if street reconstruction including the replacement of water mains was posing any danger to the residents of Grand Rapids. In other cities, this kind of construction has been known to raise the content of lead in water above safe levels. Could the same be said of Grand Rapids


Michigan Legislature Considers Lead Appropriations and Policy

While much of the media coverage about the Flint water crisis has died down, there is much activity in Lansing in regards to childhood lead poisoning. Most notable at this time is the Governor's request for $2 million in funding for the newly formed Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission. This request is working its way through the legislature, with the House and the Senate both offering different perspectives. There are also six bills that have been introduced to address lead exposure.