Mayor Bliss Commits to Tackling Lead Aggressively


In her State of the City address on Thursday night, Mayor Rosalynn Bliss made it clear that fixing lead poisoning is a major priority for Grand Rapids.

"The recent increase in lead poisoning is a call to action," said Mayor Bliss. 

"Children should not only feel safe in our city. They must be safe. Especially in their own homes."

Mayor Bliss’ remarks come after a pattern of increasing urgency to address the problem of children being exposed to lead hazards in Michigan.

Earlier this month, Kent County’s Lead Task Force developed and submitted their specific recommendations to the county board.  At the state level, Gov. Rick Snyder appointed the Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission in March 2017 comprised of government employees, medical specialists, and community leaders.

Mayor Bliss’ commitment adds to the positive progress happening in Grand Rapids. The momentum is critical; the number of lead poisoned children in the city continues to climb, up 30% from 2015.

"It’s time for the city to work more closely with our partners to aggressively test for lead, examine our housing codes, increase screening for lead hazards before occupancy, and accelerate remediation," said Mayor Bliss.

According to an article on Mlive, Bliss said she would be tasking a small group of partners to come up with steps the city can take to address the problem after a report comes to the commission from Kent County.

"We couldn't be more thrilled with the Mayor's actions tonight," said Healthy Homes Executive Director Paul Haan. "It's clear that the Mayor understands that aggressive new solutions are needed for this lingering problem that leaves kids hurting. Action is needed."