This is a startling fact. More children in Grand Rapids were lead poisoned than in Flint.

That's not supposed to happen. This is Grand Rapids and West Michigan, the successful, booming oasis of Michigan. Things like that don't happen here. Right? Not right.

The sad fact is that it's happening right here in River City, but you don't hear much about it, because it's happening in the "inner city," the 49507 zip code, a high-poverty, high-minority neighborhood. And, it's not limited to the 07 area, because two out of every three lead poisoned-children in Kent County not only live in the 49507 zip code, but in 49504 and 49503 areas, too. Sobering? Shocking? Sad?

What is the problem? We thought our water was safe.

It is. Grand Rapids tested way under the federal Lead and Copper Rule. So, what is it?

Paint! Paint in homes built before 1978, the year lead based paint was banned. Most houses in the city of Grand Rapids were built before 1978. Paint flakes and peels, and when not scraped or sanded off, can lead to dangerous lead dust that is kicked up and unknowingly digested. Yes, it's dangerous to anyone, but especially for babies, children and pregnant women.

So, lets' do something about it.

The Healthy Homes Coalition of West Michigan is trying to "get the lead out," by getting the word out to owners, and renters, that there is help available, and money, too.

Any and all can call the coalition at 616-241-3300, log on to their website here, GET THE LEAD OUT GR, OR CONTACT the city of GRAND RAPIDS COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT DEPATMENT at 616-456-3030.


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