October 21, 2019, Washington, DC – Today the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) kicked off National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week events at its sites across the country to raise awareness of lead poisoning and to pursue the goal of its National Campaign to End Lead Poisoning within five years. GHHI is advancing key policies at the federal and local level and sites and partners across the country are holding community events throughout the week, providing information and resources to prevent childhood lead poisoning.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 535,000 children living in the United States have elevated blood lead levels. Lead impacted children enter school with diminished reading and learning abilities and drop out of school at a rate 7 times greater than their peers. Additional effects include hearing loss, speech delays, aggressive violent behavior and long term health impacts costing the U.S. over $43 billion in medical, special education, lost earnings, and criminal justice costs.
“For far too long, children and communities have been negatively impacted by lead poisoning, but the solutions are now within our grasp to end this entirely preventable disease,” said GHHI President & CEO Ruth Ann Norton. “GHHI sites and partners are engaging communities and key stakeholders throughout the U.S. this week to help people understand the problem and the resources we need at the community, city, state and national level to generate the massive impact that will prevent exposures to lead in paint, water, soil and products. It is far past time to bring an end to the toxic legacy of lead poisoning in the United States. Future generations will judge us by our actions.”
As part of its National Lead Campaign, GHHI developed its Strategic Plan to End Childhood Lead Poisoning – A Blueprint for Action that includes a broad set of policy recommendations to produce the financial resources and regulatory tools to end childhood lead poisoning as a major public health threat in the next five years. Key actions GHHI is pursuing during National Lead Week and as part of the Lead Campaign include:
Increasing Federal Lead Funding – GHHI is providing education and information this week to members of Congress to obtain support for Rep. Jared Golden’s Lead Free Future Act that is a bold plan to put in place at-scale lead hazard remediation investment and national health and housing standards. The Lead Free Future Act establishes $12 billion in funding over 5 years ($2.4 billion per year) to address lead-based paint hazards, replace lead service lines and remediate lead hazards in soil in the 1.1 million properties where young children from low income families reside and which are most at-risk for lead hazards. The Act also increases funding for the Centers for Disease Control’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program to $500 million over 5 years ($100 million per year) to support environmental investigation and case management, and requires that states’ level of action be aligned with the CDC blood lead reference level in order to receive lead surveillance or hazard remediation funds. Read the text of the bill here: Lead Free Future Act
Increasing Local Lead Funding – GHHI is advancing efforts by states to substantially increase lead remediation funding such as New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy’s just announced Comprehensive Statewide Plan to Address Lead Exposure and its $500 million in bond funding for lead service line replacement and the remediation of lead hazards in homes.
Improving Housing Standards for Lead – GHHI is supporting the strengthening of local housing standards and will join City of Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and City Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown on Tuesday, October 22nd for the signing into law of the City of Philadelphia Lead Law to require universal lead inspection and certification of older rental properties. Read more about the Bill and its passage: http://phlcouncil.com/philadelphia-city-council-passes-landmark-legislation-to-require-lead-certification-in-rental-properties/
Requiring States to Lower their Blood Lead Action Level – GHHI is advocating for states to lower their blood lead action level for environmental investigation and medical case management to the CDC lead reference level including the Maryland General Assembly’s passage in 2019 of the Maryland Healthy Children Act (HB1233). http://mgaleg.maryland.gov/2019RS/Chapters_noln/CH_341_hb1233t.pdf
This year’s National Lead Poisoning Prevention Week theme, “Lead-Free Kids for a Healthy Future,” focuses on the importance of testing homes and rental properties, getting children younger than six blood lead tested and learning how to prevent lead poisoning’s serious health effects by addressing hazards. Go to www.ghhi.org and www.hud.gov/program_offices/healthy_homes/nlppw for information on keeping homes free from lead hazards.
About the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative
Founded in 1986 as Parents Against Lead, the Green & Healthy Homes Initiative (GHHI) is one of the nation’s most influential leaders in advancing policies, practices and programs to create healthy, safe and energy efficient homes. Its work, to break the link between unhealthy housing and unhealthy children, seniors and families, is focused on using housing as a platform for health to advance the social determinants of health and health opportunities for all. To learn more, please visit www.ghhi.org and follow us at: @HealthyHousing