State commission looks at ways to reduce lead poisoning in kids

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JACKSON, Mich. (WLNS) – High lead levels found in children from Jackson County is causing alarm for health officials.  

 

Other Michigan communities are seeing the same troubling trend.

 

It’s something that was addressed at a special forum in Jackson.

 

Making sure Michigan’s children are free from lead poisoning is a big task.

 

So Wednesday afternoon, a state commission met in Jackson to seek ideas.

 

“They’re real interested in getting feedback, which is a wonderful opportunity for the community,” said Rhonda Rudolph, a health educator with the Jackson County Health Department.

 

The health department brought the state’s Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission to Jackson because of the big problem in the community.

 

Rudolph says high lead levels are consistently found in Jackson’s children.

 

At last check, 7.8 percent of kids under 6 years old who were tested had elevated lead levels in their bodies.

 

Rudolph is worried that means there are many children out there who haven’t been identified.

    

“So that’s a big concern for us,” Rudolph said.

 

She says the city of Jackson has a lot of older homes that are filled with lead paint inside and out.

 

The lead paint breaks down, turns to dust, and is ingested by kids.

 

“That’s the primary source of lead poisoning that we see in children,” Rudolph said.

 

The health department says work is being done at the state and local levels to get lead away from kids.

 

The city of Jackson is using a $2.9 million federal grant to remove lead paint from homes in the city.

 

The city says that program will start soon.

 

Professional lead paint removers will go into the homes of children identified by the health department who need help.

 

The state is using forums to develop a five year plan to reduce lead exposure across Michigan.

 

“A lot of it is just reassurance for the parents that there are resources to tap into,” Rudolph said.

 

While the work continues, Rudolph calls on parents to get their children tested so they can get the help that’s available.

 

“We don’t want to see them suffer because of something they were exposed to when they were children,” Rudolph said.

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