Every infant and toddler in Michigan should be tested for lead. That’s one of the recommendations of a state task force looking for ways to eliminate childhood lead poisoning.
The task force wasn’t just looking for ways to help kids poisoned by lead. It wants to track where lead has contaminated homes, day care centers, and other structures.
“We don’t know how big the problem is, and we don’t know where these hot spots are,” said Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, a Flint pediatrician who first called attention to the water crisis in her city. She says universal testing and a registry of lead-tainted structures will help with solutions.
“It will require a long-term plan and a high level of engagement to ensure that, home by home, we are protecting kids from the dangers of exposure to lead,” said Lt. Governor Brian Calley, who led the task force. “We believe that the information is available for us to predict where lead poisoning is likely to occur, where the risks are greatest, so we can get ahead of lead poisoning rather than waiting for a child to be poisoned.”
The state has a federal grant to get things started, but the Legislature may also have to provide more money and resources to end the risk of childhood lead exposure.