Download a PDF of our Lead Education Day solutions here
Watch our Lead Education Day training video here

Lead Education Day is where folks of all stripes across the state—from nurses to contractors to parents of sick kids—meet with lawmakers to discuss the dangers of lead poisoning and what we can do to end it. Here, we'll talk about solutions.

Michigan just mourned the 10th anniversary of the Flint Water Crisis. Amidst the scars and suffering that remain, so does progress. Last year, Michigan became the 10th state to add lead tests to all young kids’ checkup routines. Then, it became the first to commit to making drinking water in schools and childcare centers free of lead. As more children than ever before are tested for lead, we want to make sure Michigan has the tools needed.

During Lead Education Day, we'll advocate for three big policies, each of which has been turned into bills in the Michigan Legislature.

House Bill 4532

This legislation would bring a federal rule for lead-safe home renovation, repair and painting under state control while retaining funding. This change would allow Michigan to increase contractors certified to make lead-safe home repairs and, thus, home renovations.

House Bill 5368

This legislation would define an elevated blood lead level as 3.5 milligrams per deciliter. This low level unlocks better treatment options for more lead-poisoned children.

House Bill 5369

This legislation would automatically refer children with elevated blood lead levels to Early On services and caseworker services. It would more easily and more immediately start a great treatment process for kids, setting them up for success.

A closer look: House Bill 4532

Michigan’s homes are old. About two in every three was built at least 50 years ago. That means these places could have leaky windows, gasping furnaces, dismantling roofs... and lead paint. Lead was banned in many products back in 1978 but many homes built before that time have yet to be remediated. That puts many kids at risk of ingesting paint chips or inhaling lead-infused dust—our homes are the number one cause of lead poisoning in Michigan.

Enter the Renovation, Repair and Painting Rule, or RRP, a federal rule by the Environmental Protection Agency that requires building contractors to be certified for lead-safe work on old housing. This way, workers receive proper training to reduce the chances of exposing themselves and residents to lead as they fix up homes.

The RRP rule is meant to be a way to make sure Michigan’s many old homes aren’t poisoning kids with lead. Unfortunately, multiple states are grouped into one RRP overseer. This more distanced approach makes its safety requirements difficult to implement and enforce well. Consequently, renovations, repairs, and paint jobs on some of Michigan’s many old homes are being done in ways that expose workers and residents to lead.

Why House Bill 4532?

Legislation by Rep. Rachel Hood (D-Grand Rapids) would move the RRP rule’s enforcement into state control while preserving federal funding. Why the move?

It would expand the program. Many contractors aren’t certified to work on lead-laden homes safely. It’s not their fault—they slip through our federal RRP rule’s cracks. A state program would fix that by upping enforcement.

It gives Michigan more control. We know our communities best. We know our lead poisoning problems and solutions and workforce best. We can adjust the RRP rule to our needs. Fourteen states have already taken over the federal RRP rule to do just that.

It’s simple. The certifications the RRP rule requires are one day long. They cost an average of $600 and last five years.

It’s federally funded. Those dollars won’t go away if we switch to a state-run program.

It keeps kids safe. About 4,000 children in Michigan are reported exposed to lead each year. With new laws making lead tests universal, it’s expected that number will rise. A state-controlled RRP rule—one that’s expanded, funded and simple—would allow us to respond with more speed, efficiency and impact.

Download our cheat sheet on the RRP bill here




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