For Immediate Release
Feb. 4, 2020
Bills will improve screenings and response, create safer, healthier homes
LANSING—The Michigan League for Public Policy issued the following statement on the “Healthy Homes, Healthy Families” legislation announced by Rep. Rachel Hood and her House colleagues. The bills, House Bill 5359-House Bill 5367 and House Bill 5406, will: require lead poisoning screening for minors; require those screenings to be a part of a minor’s immunization record; lower the lead action level; fund lead abatement by establishing a tax on architectural paint; establish a tax credit to offset certification fees for qualified lead professionals; require a lead-based paint inspection before the sale or transfer of property; require a lead-based paint inspection and abatement for rental units when a complaint is made; shift the burden of proof of lead-based paint hazards in rental housing from the tenant to the landlord; and better regulate imported cosmetics.
The statement can be attributed to Michigan League for Public Policy External Affairs Director Alex Rossman, who attended today’s announcement.
“The League is proud to stand alongside community members and lawmakers from Grand Rapids, Flint and Detroit to announce the Healthy Homes, Healthy Families legislation to better protect our kids and families from lead exposure. As Michigan’s Kids Count organization that tracks and evaluates child well-being through data analysis, we know all too well the threat lead poses to our kids and the damage it can do when it gets into their blood, whether it’s from the water they drink, the soil they play in, or the paint on the walls and windows of their room.
“These bills will improve lead testing and the data the League, elected officials, medical professionals and families depend on, as well as protect children from exposure to lead in the first place. We are particularly pleased with the efforts to address lead exposure through housing, especially rental housing, as that adversely impacts communities of color and families with lower incomes and all residents deserve a healthy home to live in.”
County-level lead testing data is included as part of the League’s annual Kids Count in Michigan Data Book, and protecting Michigan kids from lead, PFAS and other environmental health threats has been a priority in both the League’s Owner’s Manual for Michigan policy agenda and its annual budget priorities—including the recommendations for the 2021 state budget.
Lead exposure and the lasting effects were also a focus of the League’s 2016 Cities in Crisis series that addressed the Flint water crisis, the decisions lawmakers made to get us there and what leaders needed to do address the damage they caused.
From the Cities in Crisis fact sheet, A poison all around us: The threat of lead in Michigan:
“Unfortunately, while the breadth of lead exposure and government’s responsibility are unique to Flint, lead poisoning is not. Michigan children around the state have been exposed to lead through old lead-based paint and lead dust in older homes as well as contaminated soil and old infrastructure with lead. Because of this, the problem persists predominantly among impoverished areas of Michigan and children of color.
“The effects of lead exposure at any level are irreversible and prevention is paramount. Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in a body. It interferes with functions of positive minerals in the body, such as, iron, calcium and zinc, which are vital to the healthy development of a person’s bones, organs, brain and nervous system. Toddlers are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning due to their high levels of absorption, their rapid development and their hand-to-mouth behavior that results in them ingesting lead.”
The Michigan League for Public Policy, www.mlpp.org, is a nonprofit policy institute focused on economic opportunity for all. It is the only state-level organization that addresses poverty in a comprehensive way.