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Expanded Lead Testing to Begin in Michigan

Jeannine Grossenbacher

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer recently signed into law a bill that would require lead testing as part of the routine check-ups of 1 and 2 year old children. Current testing requirements are only for Medicaid recipients, but will be expanded to all children in the state. Lead poisoning is a serious health concern and can have long lasting and sometimes irreversible consequences. Young children are especially susceptible, making early detection imperative.

Exposure to lead can happen in various ways, including the paint in many older homes. Although it was banned in 1978, lead-based paint was commonly used before that. Others sources of exposure are contaminated soils, waters, imported items and even some hobbies.

Lead poisoning often shows little or no symptoms in the beginning, but as lead levels rise in the body, children may suffer from developmental difficulties, learning delays and physical problems. Routine testing can aid in early detection and treatment. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends all children be tested between the ages of 1 and 2, and high risk children be tested at any time from 6 months to 6 years of age.

The Michigan Alliance for Lead Safe Homes (MIALSH) has been advocationg for this law since their inception 13 years ago. Others bills that have been proposed include lead water filters in schools and in child/day care centers.

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