Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Efforts Expand in Wisconsin
DHS Lead Policy Advisor Keeps the Spotlight on Eliminating Lead Dangers
Wisconsin’s lead policy advisor, Brian Weaver, today highlighted the state’s expanding efforts to prevent childhood lead poisoning, noting that many of the same families living in older homes with lead hazards are also among the populations being hardest hit by COVID-19.
Childhood lead poisoning can cause delays in growth, behavior and create learning challenges. In severe cases, lead poisoning can result in seizures, coma, and death. Lead poisoning occurs when children swallow lead paint dust, often found in homes built before 1978, and can also be caused by lead-contaminated drinking water from lead service lines or lead in plumbing fixtures.
Weaver was named Wisconsin’s lead policy advisor in February after Governor Tony Evers issued an executive order to focus attention on lead poisoning as a critical public health issue in Wisconsin, and directed state agencies to work together on prevention.
Statewide efforts to prevent lead poisoning include abating lead hazards and addressing other structural issues in the homes of 125 Wisconsin residents. This work, funded by a recent award from the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), will be carried out in collaboration with a range of partners, including:
- Winnebago County Health Department
- City of Oshkosh-Community Development Division
- Community Services – Social Development Commission (SDC) in Milwaukee and Waukesha counties
- Grant County Health Department Consortium
- Crawford County Health Department
- Southwestern Wisconsin Community Action Program
In addition, the health agency plans to increase the number of children under age six who are tested for lead poisoning by working closely with the Wisconsin Chapter of the American Academy of Pediatrics, other state programs, public health departments, and health care providers.
Other efforts include:
- Coordinating the statewide DHS Lead-Safe Homes program to abate lead hazards in homes where a Medicaid- or BadgerCare Plus-eligible child or pregnant woman resides or visits regularly, providing more than $3 million to local Wisconsin agencies to carry out residential lead hazard abatement activities.
- Increasing the number of professionals trained and certified to remove lead hazards from homes by providing training scholarships for new residential contract workers, and reaching out to potential construction workers to bring them into the lead abatement field.
- Addressing lead hazards in both in-home and child care facilities in underserved and low income communities under EPA’s Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation (WIIN) grant program.
- Providing financial opportunities for window and siding manufacturers, housing supply stores and other Wisconsin businesses associated with housing projects.
The City of Milwaukee, and Kenosha and Racine counties will also provide lead abatement services to more than 500 homes, funded by two $4 million HUD grants.
- Op Ed: Lead Paint, Poisoning Still An Issue - Joanna Balza - May 7th, 2021
- Moore Hopes Biden Plan Can Replace City’s Lead Pipes - Elizabeth Dohms-Harter - Apr 17th, 2021
- Op Ed: Biden Plan Is a Lead Pipe Cinch - Dan Shafer - Apr 14th, 2021
- Urban Ideas: Fix Lead Poisoning, Not Lead Pipes - Jeramey Jannene - Apr 12th, 2021
- Evers Budget Has Green Goals - Danielle Kaeding - Feb 18th, 2021
- New Program for Lead-Poisoned Children - Matt Martinez - Dec 26th, 2020
- EPA Requires Lead Testing for Schools, Day Cares - Danielle Kaeding - Dec 22nd, 2020
- Lead Testing Down During Pandemic - Edgar Mendez - Nov 6th, 2020
- Op Ed: Lead Poisoning and a Listening Session - Carol Diggelman and Ann Batiza - Oct 27th, 2020
- SafeHomes initiative expands lead abatement efforts for a lead-free Milwaukee - Ald. Marina Dimitrijevic - Oct 27th, 2020
Read more about Lead Crisis here
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Matching employers and organizations with local vaccine providers