LANSING, Mich (WLNS) – Young children exposed to lead in the waters could have brain and nervous system damage.
Which is why Governor Rick Snyder asked Lieutenant Governor Brian Calley to development recommendations to not only address the problem but avoid it as well.
The report seeks to require young children to be tested, but the state will not mandate it.
“Now when you say mandatory you can’t make a person get a test but you can make the system, make the test available,” says Lt. Gov. Brian Calley. “There’s always going to be some people that, that are going to decide not to that decide not to get tested but ultimately history tells us that the system that we’re proposing here results in extremely high levels of testing.
The Flint water crisis was all about lead pipes leeching lead into the water, but experts also say exposure also comes from lead in paint in older homes built before 1978, in fact the Lieutenant Governor suggests if you live in such a home, have it tested for lead, but the state will not mandate that testing either.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Director of the Pediatric Public Health Initiative at MSU says “Getting at the homes and checking the homes just like we check a child it’s checking the home and environment the water before children are exposed that’s where legislative and policy plays a role.”
The problem is not confined to urban homes.
It is hitting rural areas around Michigan as well.
Apart from the human health risks, there is a financial cost as well children who have lead poisoning earn less money because their IQ is reduced, the juvenile crime rate goes up and society pays for all of this.
Rebecca Meuninck, Deputy Director of the Ecology Center, says “we found that the annual cost of exposure in Michigan was more than $270 million, $112 million of this cost is borne by you and I, taxpayers in this state.”
Some of these recommendations will require financial support from the legislature but at this read nobody knows how much the price tag is.