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U of M Study: Lead Exposure Directly Connected to Lower DPS Performance

In a recent study to be published in the March issue of the American Journal of Public Health, the lead Detroit Public Schools (DPS) students ingested directly effected their academic performance on State standardized tests.

UM study lead poisoning

Credit Mercedes Mejia / Michigan Radio

The study took Blood Lead Level (BLL) data from the Detroit Department of Health and Wellness Promotion, and correlated BLL’s to test scores on the Michigan Education Assessment Program (MEAP) for when those students tested for lead as young children took the MEAP as third, fifth, and eighth graders.

Not only did the study show severe academic impairment for students with childhood Elevated Blood Lead Levels (EBLs) as determined by current federal standards, it showed that students with lower BLLs also showed decreased academic performance.

Students with blood levels of 2-5 micrograms/decileter (ug/dl), a level currently not deemed dangerous, had a 33% higher likelihood of a poor MEAP performance.  Students whose BLLs were over 5 ug/dl as children had a 50% higher likelihood of doing poorly on the MEAP.  Currently, the federal government deems levels of 10 ug/dl and above to be dangerous, while the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggests a level of 5 ug/dl should be the poisoning threshold.

The study connects the ubiquitous presence of lead in DPS students to the district’s equally stark academic failings.  Out of 39,199 DPS students tested for lead as children between 1990 and 2008, 23 did not have lead in their bodies.  In results released in February 2013, 14.8% of DPS students passed the MEAP’s math portion.

Information used in the previous summary came from the following sources:

Read the University of Michigan’s press release for the study HERE.

Read the Michigan Radio Article HERE.

Read the Detroit Free Press Article HERE.

Read the study itself HERE.

Graphic: Interactive map shows lead levels in Detroit neighborhoods over time.

Data: Lead poisoning by Detroit Public School

Wayne State Awarded Grant

On May 8, 2012, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) awarded Wayne State University’s Center for Urban Studies nearly $700,000 to “assess the reliability of assessments completed using the Healthy Homes Rating Tool” (HHRT), and to “test… assessors on providing likelihoods and outcomes based upon U.S. data, and assess the effect of training on assessment quality and reliability.”  CLEARCorps/Detroit uses the HHRT to help determine home repairs for clients in our Healthy Homes Detroit program.

The HHRT is an integral part of prioritizing health and safety repairs, and determining which hazards pose the greatest risk to our clients and their children.  CLEARCorps/Detroit looks forward to working with WSU’s Center for Urban Studies to evaluate how we can best reduce health and safety hazards in our client’s homes.

To read an overview of the grant, please click HERE.

 

CLEARCorps/Detroit Awarded Commendation

On March 8, 2012, Gov. Rick Snyder and Rep. Alberta Talabi awarded CLEARCorps/Detroit  a Special Tribute to “commend and congratulate CCD for their outstanding work to protect Metro Detroit’s children from lead poisoning.  Under the leadership of Executive Director Mary Sue Schottenfels, CCD has built a strong enterprise that provides outstanding service and contributes to the entire community.”

We are truly thankful for this commendation, and will continue creating healthy homes for children and families. Thank you!

Lead Poisoning Threshold to be lowered to 5 ug/dl

On January 4, 2012, the Advisory Committee on Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report entitled Low Level Lead Exposure Harms Children: A Renewed Call for Primary Prevention. In this report, the committee recommended lowering the Blood Lead Level (BLL) considered to be poisoned from a minimum of 10 ug/dl to a minimum level of 5 ug/dl.  They cited that BLLs lower than 10 ug/dl still result in “IQ deficits,” “behavioral [problems], particularly attention-related behaviors and academic achievement,” and “adverse health effects [such as] cardiovascular, immunological, and endocrine effects.”

What this means for you and your family:

Currently, health care professionals do not consider children with Blood Lead Levels between 1 and 9 ug/dl to be poisoned.  Right now, there are about 250,000 children in the United States who have BLLs at 10 ug/dl or above and are considered to be lead poisoned.  When children with BLLs between 5 and 9 ug/dl are considered poisoned, however, these numbers will increase dramatically.

You may have received a letter from CLEARCorps/Detroit in the mail stating that your child has a BLL between 5 and 9.  While currently your child is not technically poisoned, they will be considered lead poisoned once the new standard of 5 ug/dl goes into effect.

What you can do:

Educate yourself. You will not be able to prevent lead getting into your child’s body unless you are aware of the causes and sources of lead poisoning.  Sign up for our Lead Talk workshop by calling our office at (313) 924-4000.  Lead Talk will provide you with the knowledge and resources necessary to reduce lead hazards in your home.

Follow our 10 Steps to Prevent Lead Poisoning found on the home page of our website.  Eat your veggies every day!  This will allow your child’s body to begin to cleanse itself.

You may qualify for a CLEARCorps program to make your home a safe and healthy place.  Please call our office and ask to speak to a representative today.