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National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week

As we wrap up National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week, it’s incredibly important to understand that our homes can affect our health and safety. Particularly in older communities like ours, we find that building components contain toxic materials like lead. To finish off our highlights on lead poisoning prevention, we are sharing best practices on how to keep your family safe:

  • Get your child test for lead! Start at nine months with their doctor, then retest each year until age six.
  • Wash children’s hands, toys, bottles, and pacifiers often.
  • Include a diet for your family rich in calcium and iron while avoiding fatty and sugary foods.
  • Wet clean weekly by mopping floors, and spraying/wiping window sills, window wells, and baseboards.
  • Do not let children play in bare dirt, near windows, or on porches with old paint.
  • Take your shoes off at the door to prevent tracking lead dust in from outside.
  • Only use cold tap water to cook or to make baby formula. Flush your pipes in the morning before you drink the water. Water standing in pipes for several hours can contain lead.
  • When repairing or remodeling your home, do not let children near work areas. Clean thoroughly and work lead safe!
  • Make sure that anyone who works in construction or auto repair changes their clothes and showers before greeting or holding children. Separate dirty work clothes from other laundry.

For more information, go to the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention page from the CDC or refer to our Lead Poisoning 101 Book!

Lead Poisoning Awareness Month

In October, we raise awareness for lead poisoned children in our community and how we can prevent future contact with lead-based paint. In 1978, the federal government banned the sale and use of lead-based paint in homes. Many of our communities have an aging housing stock with deteriorating conditions, creating hazards where children encounter lead-based paint. Sources can be found in the paint on walls, porches, door frames, windows, windowsills, and many other aging painted components of homes. Lead dust is created from deteriorating paint, which can settle onto floors, children’s toys, and other items around the home. The only way to know for sure where and how much lead-based paint in a home is through a Lead Inspection Risk Assessment from a certified inspector. If a presence of lead is found in the home, it is important to have your child’s blood lead level tested. Acting promptly after learning of a lead presence in your home or in your child is the best way to address the problem! Children with lead poisoning can develop brain and nervous system damage, learning and behavior problems, slow growth and development, and hearing and speech problems. Hiring a certified lead abatement contractor and contacting your local health department about lead abatement programs for income-qualified families can start you on the path to having a lead-safe home.

For more information on local programs, you can contact the Detroit Health Department Lead Program online or call at: (313) 876-0133

 

Lead levels drop in Michigan kids after Flint spike. But so does testing.

This article highlights an important notion – that it is always important to investigate studies. Even though the number of children with elevated lead levels has decreased, testing has also dropped. With a smaller number of people having their children tested, there are cases of unidentified lead poisoning that do not get entered into this count.

With an aging housing stock, it’s more important than ever to have your child tested for elevated blood lead levels. If your house was built before 1978, there is a possibility that lead hazards exist in your home. Taking preventative steps can ensure the health of your child and create a healthy environment in your home.

To read the full article published by Bridge Magazine, click here.

Detroit issues more than 1,000 tickets to landlords amid rental property crackdown

According to an article by Kurt Nagl at Crain’s Detroit, the City of Detroit has issued more than 1,000 code violation tickets in the 48215 zip code as part of city’s push to bring rental properties into compliance. Some properties received two tickets – one for code non compliance and one for improper lead abatements.

The city is looking to bring the condition of housing stock to a higher standard and ensure that homes will be safe and healthy environments for families looking to rent. This is a valiant effort by the city to improve the rate of compliance. For example, 52 of the approximately 500 landlords in the 48215 zip code are compliant this year – tripling last year’s number of 17 compliant landlords in the area.

However, this is only the crust of task being faced by the Building Safety Engineering and Environmental Department at the City of Detroit. “Of more than 60,000 rental properties in the city, only around 800 are compliant” says department Director Dave Bell. While there are many strides left to be taken, the city pushes on towards bringing rental properties into compliance.

In addition to the crackdown on noncompliance, the city is offering tenants in the current enforcement zip codes an opportunity to escrow their rent money until their rental property receives a certificate of compliance. Managed by PNC Bank, the city has installed 45 DivDat kiosks for renters to submit their rent into escrow. The kiosks also provide means to pay taxes and water, sewage, and energy bills. Landlords can recover the rent in escrow if the certificate of compliance is obtained within 90 days of the escrow account opening. If the certificate is not granted within that time-frame, then the renter is repaid their rent.

 

Click here to read the full article

Detroit landlords ignoring rental inspection rules, city says

The Building Safety Engineering & Environmental Department of the City of Detroit is making a push to get more rental properties into compliance with city code and lead ordinances. Despite a low rate of properties coming into compliance so far, we applaud the city for this effort and look forward to working with property owners to make their rentals lead-free. The Detroit News has a great update on progress so far and what is to come next. To read the entire article, please click here.

Lead Safe Gardening & Resources Environmental Health Chat

CLEARCorps Detroit had the pleasure of presenting at a Wayne State Center for Urban Responses to Environmental Stressors (CURES) Environmental Health Chat on May 13, 2017. The focus of the event was on Lead-Safe Gardening tips and resources available to help the community grow their food for healthy lifestyles.

Detroit announces effort to prevent lead poisoning from blight

Thank you to WJBK for highlighting our partnership with the City of Detroit and Wayne State University. We have been reaching out door to door in the 48214 zip code and are excited to see that this effort will be expanding. Lead prevention starts before children are poisoned!

 

Read the full article here

Healthier kids: An action plan for Michigan

Thank you to the Detroit Free Press for highlighting how often lead is found in our homes in Detroit. We appreciate you taking the time to speak with us on the work that CLEARCorps Detroit is doing to combat lead poisoning and what we can do together as a community to fix this problem!

To read the full article, click here.

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.