Michigan: FYI. –RJ.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 21, 2004
Governor Granholm Signs New Laws Aimed at Helping Families Avoid Lead Poisoning
LANSING – Governor Jennifer M. Granholm today signed four new laws aimed at helping families avoid living in houses that may contain lead-based paint which can poison young children and hinder their intellectual and physical development.
“These new measures will help prevent more children from being sickened by lead poisoning,” Granholm said. “Families need to know if they are exposing their children to lead poison, because it is 100 percent incurable but 100 percent preventable.”
According to a 2003 state report, as many as 20,000 Michigan children under the age of six may be affected by lead poisoning. The report called for a comprehensive approach to focusing on prevention, public awareness, increased screening, and improved rental housing.
The laws signed today by Governor Granholm complete an effort the Governor has championed since taking office. Earlier this year, the Governor signed three new laws that increase screening for lead poisoning in children and improve the processing of test results.
“Our state has come together on this issue like never before,” said Dr. Kimberlydawn Wisdom, Michigan’s surgeon general. “With grassroots efforts, bipartisan cooperation, budgetary support, and statewide collaboration, we can now say with confidence that we are better equipped to eliminate the number one childhood environmental health hazard by the year 2010.”
Today, the Governor signed four new laws. They include:
• Senate Bill 753, sponsored by Senator Martha G. Scott (D-Highland Park), establishing a Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Commission that will have nine voting members. This new law takes immediate effect.
• Senate Bill 756, sponsored by Senator Bill Hardiman (R-Grand Rapids), establishing a Lead Safe Housing Registry to list residential and multifamily dwellings and child-occupied facilities that have been abated of lead-based paint hazards or have had interim controls performed to control lead-based paint hazards. The registry will be maintained by the Department of Community Health in conjunction with the Family Independence Agency and published on the DCH Web site. This new law takes immediate effect.
• Senate Bill 757, sponsored by Senator Hansen Clarke (D-Detroit), prohibiting rental agents, landlords, or owners from renting or leasing a rental unit to another person if they had prior knowledge that that unit contained a lead-based paint hazard or if they were notified of a hazard during the rental period and did not take action within 30 days to abate it. This new law takes effect on January 2, 2005.
• House Bill 5116, sponsored by Representative Randy Richardville (R-Monroe), also establishing the Lead Safe Housing Registry. This new law takes immediate effect.
Lead is a toxin that builds up in the body when it is ingested. Children often are exposed to lead through cracking, peeling, lead-based paint in older buildings. Lead-based paints were banned more than 30 years ago, but many older homes and buildings still have remnants of the paint on walls or trim. People of any age can be adversely affected by lead exposure, but young children are especially vulnerable, because their brains are still developing.
In Michigan, the highest incidences of lead poisoning are in the counties of Wayne, Kent, Muskegon, Berrien, Calhoun, Kalamazoo, Genesee, Ingham, Saginaw, and Oakland. Cities of particular concern are Detroit, where 63 percent of the houses were built prior to 1950, and Grand Rapids, which has the highest concentration of lead poisoning in the state. In some areas of Detroit, children have blood lead levels up to 10 times the national average.
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