Government Officials Cracking Down On Lead Levels: New Bill Introduced, State Recommendations

All Michigan infants and toddlers may soon have to be tested for lead levels in their systems.

Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley released the recommendations Thursday, a move that follows the lead water crisis in Flint.

The report calls for screening all children for lead by the time they turn one and then once again between the ages of two and three.

Right now, this sort of testing is only required for children who are in programs like Medicaid, or women, infants and children in WIC.

Not only that, this week U.S. Congressman Dan Kildee introduced a new bill to lower the allowable amount of lead in water across the country.

Many children in flint were exposed to lead after the city’s main water source was switched to the Flint River and lead leached into their water through aging pipes.            

Lead poisoning can create irreversible developmental delays and neurological changes and can potentially be deadly.

Flint has switched back to a cleaner water supply and the city is replacing thousands of damaged pipes.

“Flint had a major impact on the state of Michigan and its drinking water systems.”

A bill recently introduced proves just that, cracking down on the amount of lead legally allowed in water. Dropping it from 15 parts per billion to 10 parts per billion.

The director of the Grand Traverse County Public Works, John Divozzo tells us the changes would mainly impact larger cities.

“Our 90th percentile is below even ten so I don’t think that aspect of the law will affect us, but it could have an impact on anybody whose 90th percentile is in between 10 and 15.”

According to Grand Traverse County Public Works most local communities are under the 10, but if they’re not this bill could be a source of stress as they search for finances to support what comes with it.

“So if you’re used to doing something once every three years and now you’re doing once a quarter that’s like 12 times more samples you’ll have to take,” says Divozzo.

Northwest Michigan Health Department Medical Director Dr. Joshua Meyerson says locally it’s not the water that brings kids in with lead poisoning. “We do still see some lead poisoning primarily because of old housing stock. In Northern Michigan we don’t have the numbers of lead poisoning that you’re going to see in more populated areas.”

But regardless both say any move directed toward curbing lead poisoning is a good one.

Dr. Meyerson says, “There’s still too many children that are negatively affected due to lead poisoning I think steps that we can reduce lead poisoning and to prevent it would certainly be steps in the right direction.”

“I think it will help to reassure our customers that we still meet the new criteria as a result of flint,” says Divozzo.

For more information on the new bill click here and for more information on the new state recommendations click here.