Kent County Lead Poisoning Task Force Welcomes Public Participation


Late last year, the Kent County Board of Commissioners appointed a 16 member task force to investigate ways in which the County can work towards elimination of lead poisoning. That task force has been meeting monthly since January, taking testimony from a variety of subject matter experts.

In February, the task force heard from health and epidemiology experts. Presenting were Dr. Bill Bush, Pediatrician-in-Chief at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital; Dr, Bryan Judge, Toxicologist, Gustavo Rotondaro from Métrica; and Dr. Roseann Miller, epidemiologist for the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

In March, the topic was lead in water, with presentations from Grand Rapids Deputy City Manager Eric Delong, Grand Rapids Water System Manager Joellen Thompson and Kent County Health Department Environmental Health Director Eric Pessell.

April presentations focused on other sources of lead in the environment, where task force members learned that the leading cause of exposure—even in Flint—is lead in household dust followed by lead in soil. Presenters included Kory Groetsch, Environmental Public Health Director with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and Catherine Phelps, President of AAA Lead Inspections.

May presentations will focus on current interventions. June will look at the recommendations from Governor Snyder’s Child Lead Poisoning Elimination Board. The task force will then deliberate over the summer months, pulling together recommendations in the fall.

Members of the public are welcome to attend all task force meetings, and may be especially interested in the May and June presentations. Future meetings are on the following dates.  All meetings are1:00 – 2:30pm, and are held in the County Commission chambers on the third floor of the County Building, 300 Monroe Ave NW.

  • May 17 – Current Interventions
  • June 21 – Report from State Board
  • July 19
  • August 15
  • September 20
  • October 18
  • November 15

Kent County Lead Task Force Presentation Library

Dr. Bush – Health Impacts of Lead (February)
Métrica – Mapping Risk Factors (February)
Dr. Miller – Trends in Childhood Blood Lead Levels (February)
Mr. DeLong and Ms. Thompson – Responding to New Interpretations on Lead in Drinking Water (March)
Mr. Groetsch – Source Contribution to Childhood Lead Exposure (April)
Ms. Phelps – Inspection Homes for Lead Hazards (April)