More than $7 million awarded to expand lead hazard control services in communities across Michigan

Funding comes from Michigan’s Children’s Health Insurance Program

Michigan is expanding lead hazard control services to eligible households with a Medicaid-enrolled resident.

The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services awarded more than $7 million in community grants to expand the services.

The funding comes from Michigan’s Children’s Health Insurance Program. Grants of up to $1.5 million were available for qualifying cities, counties or consortiums to provide lead hazard control services.

Grantee NameTarget AreaAmount Awarded
City of Battle CreekCalhoun County$1,500,000
Community Action AgencyLenawee and Hillsdale counties$1,231,125
City of DetroitCity of Detroit$1,274,300
City of Grand RapidsKent County$700,000
Human Development CommissionHuron, Tuscola, Sanilac, Lapeer and Bay counties$1,062,900
Menominee-Delta-Schoolcraft Community Action AgencyAll Upper Peninsula counties$500,000
City of MuskegonMuskegon County$880,100
Wayne County Health DepartmentCity of Highland Park$520,000
City of Benton HarborCity of Benton Harbor$100,000

Read: How many children in your community have elevated blood lead levels?

Services available for funding under this initiative include the following and more:

  • Lead inspection, risk assessment and/or elevated blood lead investigation activities to determine the presence of lead hazards.
  • Permanent removal, enclosure or encapsulation of lead-based paint and lead dust hazards for eligible residences.
  • Removal or covering of soil lead hazards up to eligible residence property lines.
  • Minimal rehabilitation to help sustain the lead abatement work.
  • Removal of pre-2014 faucets and fixtures used for human consumption, plumbing and/or service lines deemed to be a lead hazard.
  • Temporary relocation of residents during lead abatement activities.
  • Building local capacity to safely and effectively abate lead hazards.

Are there symptoms of lead exposure?

Unfortunately, lead exposure in children is difficult to notice and most children have no obvious symptoms immediately.

According to the CDC, lead quickly enters the body and can cause harm. When a child swallows lead, their blood lead level rises. When the exposure stops, the amount of lead in the blood decreases over time.

Lead is released through urine, sweat and feces. Lead is also stored in bones and it can take decades for lead stores in the bones to decrease.

Read: Experts dive into why there’s an alarming increase in lead poisoning among children

FLINT, MI - JANUARY 26: Brian Jones, a first responder for Livingston County Michigan, draws the blood of Amaria Roberson, age 5 of Flint, to screen her blood for lead on January 26, 2016 at Eisenhower Elementary School in Flint, Michigan. Free lead screenings are performed for Flint children 6-years-old and younger, one of several events sponsored by Molina Healthcare following the city's water contamination and federal state of emergency. (Photo by Brett Carlsen/Getty Images) (2016 Getty Images)

Should I test my child for lead exposure?

Some children are more likely to be exposed to lead than others.

The best way to know if a child has been exposed to lead is to have their blood tested.

The first test is usually done by taking a finger-prick or heel-prick sample. If that test comes back positive, a second test is usually used to confirm. A blood draw test may be ordered to confirm the blood lead level seen in a test.

The CDC recommends that children who experience the following should be tested for lead:

  • Live or spend time in a house or building built before 1978
  • Are from low-income households
  • Are immigrants, refugees, or recently adopted from less developed countries
  • Live or spend time with someone who works with lead or has hobbies that expose them to lead

Children enrolled in Medicaid are required to get tested for lead at ages 12 and 24 months, or age 24-72 months if they have never been tested. Young children often put their hands or other objects in their mouth, which means they are more likely to be exposed to lead than older children.

Click here to learn more about blood lead testing in Michigan.

What are the effects of childhood lead exposure?

Children who have been exposed to lead may experience a lower IQ, a decreased ability to pay attention and underperformance in school.

The CDC said that there is evidence that childhood exposure can cause long-term harm.

Exposure to lead can cause the following:

  • Damage to the brain and nervous system
  • Slowed growth and development
  • Learning and behavior problems
  • Hearing and speech problems

The health effects of exposure are more harmful to children who are younger than six years old because they are still growing.

Read: Wayne County prosecutor considers next steps in Flint Water Crisis

Does Michigan offer services to help combat lead poisoning?

If your child has an elevated blood lead level you can contact a state, local or national program to apply for lead services.

Through lead services, someone will help you find and fix lead hazards, identify lead in drinking water hazards and lower your child’s elevated blood lead level.

Services previously offered to children with blood lead levels greater than or equal to 4.5 µg/dL, including nursing case management, home environmental lead investigations and lead abatement, will be expanded to eligible families and households with children with confirmed blood lead levels greater than or equal to 3.5 µg/dL.

Click here to see if you qualify for any state or local services.

About the Author:

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.