Lead Poisoning is Rising in Kent County
A new report released on Monday morning by the Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan suggests that lead poisoning is on the rise in Kent County.
Specifically, the 49507 zip code has seen a 40% increase in the past two years.
The zip code has most lead-poisoned kids in the state of Michigan."
What's scary is that the 49507 zip code has more lead-poisoned children than all 7 of Flint's zip codes [before, during and after the water crisis] combined.
People living in that zip code aren't the only affected ones, though. Lead poisoning is also on the rise in 49503 and 49504 zip codes. So you're probably wondering what's going on? How did this happen? The problem isn't in the water like Flint, but rather right in people's homes.
Lead lurks in the interior and exterior paint of homes built before 1978 – the year lead-based paint was banned – and most houses in the city of Grand Rapids were built before that year.
Flakes and dust from this lead-based paint is dangerous when breathed in. Just a small amount is enough to pollute homes and be dangerous to anyone, especially children and women who are pregnant.
Currently, homes in Kent County aren't required to be tested for lead, which plays a role in the increase; therefore anyone who is living in a home built before 1978 is strongly advised to get it checked. And if tested positive for lead, get it fixed. There's a chance you will be qualified for funding to get the problem resolved.
You can read more about what the data found here and what the community plans on doing to help prevent this from continuing to be a problem.