Lead Poisoning Rate Rises for Second Year in a Row in Kent County

After a decade of decline, the number of lead-poisoned children in Kent County has risen for the second year in a row. Recent data released by the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) shows a 40 percent increase in lead-poisoned children in the 49507 zip code during the past two years.

According to the data, 617 Kent County children had elevated blood-lead levels in 2016 – the most recent year for which data is available.

Parents Meet to Discuss Rising Lead Poisoning Rates in 49507

Why lead poisoning is on the rise in Kent County, and particularly in Grand Rapids – and what can be done about it – was the subject of discussion and debate at the Oct. 30 event held at Dickinson Academy on Grand Rapids’ southeast side.

When Grand Rapids resident LyRee Adams’ young daughter tested positive for lead a decade ago, she later learned the poisoning likely occurred from lead-based paint flaking from windows in the home she was renting. She immediately got appropriate medical care for her daughter before the child was permanently harmed – and Adams also went directly to her landlord and worked with him to get the lead hazard out of the home.

Kent County Lead Poisoning Task Force Work Continues

The 16-member Kent County Lead Poisoning task force continues to meet to investigate ways in which the County can work towards elimination of lead poisoning

$24 Million in New Funds for Fixing Michigan Homes

The State of Michigan announced in November that it would be receiving a Medicaid waiver allowing it to spend  nearly $24 million a year for the next five years on fixing lead hazards in homes. To be eligible, the home must be occupied by a Medicaid enrolled child with an elevated blood lead level. However, dollars can be used  for primary prevention in the City of Flint and in other "target communities" to be identified by the State. Get the Lead Out! partners in Grand Rapids are working to bring those dollars to Kent County.


Michigan Legislature Considers Lead Appropriations and Policy

While much of the media coverage about the Flint water crisis has died down, there is much activity in Lansing in regards to childhood lead poisoning. Most notable at this time is the Governor's request for $2 million in funding for the newly formed Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission. This request is working its way through the legislature, with the House and the Senate both offering different perspectives. There are also six bills that have been introduced to address lead exposure.

Kent County Lead Poisoning Task Force Welcomes Public Participation

Late last year, the Kent County Board of Commissioners appointed a 16 member task force to investigate ways in which the County can work towards elimination of lead poisoning. That task force has been meeting monthly since January, taking testimony from a variety of subject matter experts.


Get the Lead Out! Steering Committee Making Headway

A Steering Committee was formed to help guide the work of the Get the Lead Out! Collaborative following the group's meeting in January. The Steering Committee has met twice since then and is working toward a larger, more impactful gathering in the future.

Governor Appoints Healthy Home Executive Director to Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission

Governor Snyder appointed Paul Haan, Executive Director of the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan, to the newly formed Child Lead Exposure Elimination Commission created by Executive Order today. The Commission will advance the work completed by a temporary board appointed in 2016. Haan and Grand Rapids Mayor Rosalynn Bliss served on the former board that issued a set of recommendations in November 2016.

Kent County Lead Task Force Hears from Leading Specialists

Four experts in the area of lead poisoning provided detailed presentations to the Kent County Lead Task Force on Wednesday, February 15, 2017. Board Chair Jim Saalfeld formed the Lead Task Force in September 2016 to investigate the issue and seek solutions to lead poisoning in children. Healthy Homes Coalition Executive Director Paul Haan serves on the task force.

[Event] EPA Renovation, Repair & Painting Certification Classes

The RPOA provides certified EPA Renovation, Repair & Painting (RRP) training for landlords and contractors.  Any  landlord, painting contractor, electrician, plumber, etc. that remodels or repairs residential property involving or disturbing painted surfaces greater than 6 sq. ft. inside or 20 sq. ft. outside of a home built before 1978 must be certified as both an EPA Certified Renovator and EPA Certified Firm to do the work and avoid fines of up to $37,500 per incident. The RPOA has provided this training for over 770 contractors and landlords.

Dates for Upcoming Classes: 

Thursday, April 2nd from 8:00am-5:00pm (held at Fricano Place, 1050 W. Western, Muskegon MI 49441)
Thursday, April 30th from 8:00am-5:00pm
Thursday, May 28th from 8:00am-5:00pm
Wednesday, June 17th from 8:00am-5:00pm

Unless stated otherwise, all classes are held at the Rental Property Owners Association at 1459 Michigan Street NE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49503

Cost for Get the Lead Out! Participants: $110.00
Cost for RPOA Members: $130.00
Cost for non-members: $150.00
Price Change Effective May 1st
Cost for RPOA Memebrs/Get the Lead Out! Participants: $150.00
Cost for non-members: $170.00

To register, contact the Rental Property Owners Association at (616) 454-3385