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October 20, 2012
This week is National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week. It is a time set aside every year to raise awareness about the threat that lead poisoning still poses to our children and our communities. At the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, Lead Poisoning Prevention Week is every week and has been for the past 25 years.
There are many people who find it hard to imagine that lead poisoning is still an environmental health hazard given that the use of lead-based paint was banned in the U.S. in 1978. Sadly, however, hundreds of thousands of children are still poisoned. Although we have made enormous progress over these three decades, the problem of this entirely preventable and costly disease still lingers. The effects of lead poisoning are irreversible, leaving children with learning disabilities, hearing loss, speech delays, ADD and ADHD, and causing aggressive and violent behavior.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 440,000 American children are diagnosed with elevated blood lead levels and, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), more than 24 million homes still contain prominent lead hazards. Children poisoned by lead are seven times more likely to drop out of school and six times more likely to be involved in the criminal justice system.
Earlier this year, the CDC took important action to lower the blood lead level by which a child is determined to be poisoned (from 10 µg/dl to 5 µg/dl), following decades of scientific research and the long-held understanding that there is no safe level of lead for a child. What is ironic, however, is that the federal budget passed by Congress at nearly the same time virtually eliminated the Lead Poisoning Prevention program budget at the CDC, reducing funding from $29 million in FY2011 to just $2 million in FY2012.
Clearly, there is still much work to do. As we endeavor this week – and every week – to raise awareness about the ongoing dangers of childhood lead poisoning, we must also raise the volume on the need for funding for these vital prevention programs. Last year, recipients of CDC grants tested more than four million children for lead and conducted case management for nearly 30,000 children. Without 400 local and state staff funded by the CDC program, health departments will be unable to help lead-poisoned children obtain medical care and housing repairs.
There are but a few childhood diseases for which we have found absolute cures or means of prevention, and lead poisoning is one. Remove lead hazards from a home in which a child lives or visits and you eliminate the poison and the subsequent effects on the child’s ability to learn, thrive, and flourish. Please join us in our work to break the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy children and eradicate lead poisoning once and for all.
September 17, 2012
Welcome to the new online home of the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI)! This new site is designed to be an easy-to-access source of information for anyone interested in helping to create healthy, safe and energy efficient homes. Whether you are a parent, physician, researcher, contractor, health or housing advocate or homeowner, our new site has something for you.
The launch of www.ghhi.org in many ways represents the evolution of our work over the past 25 years. We started as a volunteer grassroots group of Baltimore parents whose children had been poisoned by the lead paint in their homes, the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning soon grew into a full-service statewide organization. From 1993 until 2010, the Coalition led the efforts in Maryland to create over 500,000 lead-safe homes and reduce childhood lead poisoning in this state by over 98 percent. It was through this work that we came to understand that reducing lead hazards was not enough.
In response to the growing need for a comprehensive approach to improve health outcomes and stabilize communities, the Coalition launched GHHI in 2009 to integrate home-based environmental health hazard intervention services with energy efficiency and weatherization efforts. By doing so, GHHI has led national efforts to demonstrate the tremendous health, economic and social benefits of investing in healthy housing.
By reducing lead and asthma in homes, kids are better prepared to go to and stay in school and succeed in the classroom, and parents miss less work caring for ailing children. By addressing these health and safety issues, homes are better equipped to be weatherized and produce additional cost savings for families, helping to stabilize older neighborhoods. In addition, community-based workers trained to comprehensively address energy, health and safety issues in homes have opportunities for better paying jobs. Needless to say, we believe this work, when fully implemented nationally has the potential to save taxpayers billions of dollars.
It has become clear to us that to best serve the 6 million families burdened with unhealthy homes across the United States, we must continue on this path. So, as reflected by the launch of our new site, our organization’s work will be led by the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative – but the Coalition and its standard of excellence will remain a core part of our foundation.
This new path does not change our deep commitment to eliminate childhood lead poisoning. We will continue to advocate for the changes that are needed in public policy, laws and regulations to achieve our mission to break the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy children.
September 16, 2012
GHHI is featured in Vice President Biden's report to the President. Read the report on how the Recovery Act is leading the way to 21st Century Government.
Download the report to learn about the impact of the Recovery Act.