Wisconsin Communities Act to Prevent Lead Poisoning
DHS experts to tour properties that are part of the Lead-Safe Homes Program and child care centers testing for lead in drinking water
The Wisconsin Department of Health Services (DHS) is highlighting the importance of lead poisoning prevention by visiting home lead abatement projects around the state and for the first time this year will also visit child care centers that are testing their water for lead. These visits are designed to raise awareness of childhood lead poisoning and the resources available to help communities eliminate common sources of lead exposure for children.
“What’s best for our kids is what’s best for our state, and doing what’s best for our kids means making sure kids in every community can grow up in a safe and clean environment free from harmful contaminants like lead,” said Gov. Evers. “Over the last three years, we’ve worked hard to address child lead poisoning in Wisconsin, including proposing to invest $40 million to replace lead service lines across the state, but we have to keep working together to protect our kids and ensure folks know about the resources we have available to help.”
Meanwhile, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates ingestion of lead in drinking water could be as high as 20% or more of a person’s total lead exposure. Some old plumbing materials and plumbing fixtures like faucets and water fountains may contain lead. Like the Lead-Safe Homes Program, the Lead-in-Water Testing and Remediation Initiative is working with local partners to eliminate lead hazards in child care facilities.
Governor Tony Evers has prioritized the prevention of childhood lead poisoning(link is external) and DHS received just over $8 million in the current state budget to expand the Lead-Safe Homes Program. State programs and resources are available to support Wisconsin communities that want to remove lead hazards before they poison a child.
“Every child deserves a healthy start in life,” said DHS Lead Policy Advisor Brian Weaver. “When homeowners and landlords work with our Lead-Safe Homes Program or child care providers participate in the Lead-in-Water Testing and Remediation Initiative, they help protect the health of children now and for future generations.”
Lead is a neurotoxin that impacts a child’s brain and can cause life-long physical and behavioral health issues. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)(link is external), even low levels of lead in a child’s blood can affect intelligence, the ability to pay attention, and academic achievement.
Children who are lead poisoned typically do not look or act sick. Therefore, the only way to know if a child is lead poisoned is to have a blood lead test. Parents should talk with their child’s health care provider about the risk of lead exposure, and to determine if a blood lead test is needed. Children living in Milwaukee and Racine should have a blood lead test three times before age 3. Families living outside of Milwaukee and Racine should have their children under 3 tested if they live in or regularly visit a house built before 1978; have a sibling or playmate with lead poisoning; or are enrolled in Medicaid or WIC.
In 2020, there were 23% fewer blood lead tests done overall, and 30% fewer blood lead tests among all Medicaid-enrolled children compared to 2019.
Governor Evers has prioritized the prevention of childhood lead poisoning and state programs are available to support Wisconsin communities that want to remove lead hazards before they poison a child.
In the coming months, Weaver and DHS representatives will be visiting homes enrolled in the Lead-Safe Homes Program and the day care providers who participated in the Lead-in-Water Testing and Remediation Initiative. These homes, apartment buildings, and child care facilities fixed lead hazards that were potential sources of exposure. Local stakeholders, elected officials, and the media are invited to see these projects in person.
Tours will take place throughout the state, starting in August, and will run through October:
- Wisconsin Rapids – August 17, 2022, 10-11:00 a.m.
- West Allis – September 19, 2022, 10-11:00 a.m.
- Beloit – early to mid-October, 10-11:00 a.m.
- Sheboygan – Week of October 25, 2022, 10-11:00 a.m.
More information about the Lead-Safe Homes Program can be found on the DHS website and on the Lead-in-Water Testing and Remediation Initiative by contacting Madelyn Reinagel at Madelyn.Reingal@dhs.wisconsin.gov
More about the Lead Crisis
- Senator Baldwin Helps Deliver Over $62 Million for Clean Drinking Water in Wisconsin - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Feb 24th, 2023
- City Hall: Milwaukee Faces Complicated Question On What Lead Pipes To Replace Next - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 23rd, 2023
- Eyes on Milwaukee: Revitalize Milwaukee Plots Major Expansion - Jeramey Jannene - Feb 10th, 2023
- Senator Baldwin Supports New Initiative to Accelerate Lead Pipe Removal in Wisconsin - U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin - Jan 27th, 2023
- Wisconsin Communities Act to Prevent Lead Poisoning - Wisconsin Department of Health Services - Aug 17th, 2022
- DNR Releases Annual Drinking Water Report - Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Aug 1st, 2022
- Lead Enforcement Ordinance brings consequences for landlords’ inaction - Ald. Jose Perez - Jul 28th, 2022
- City Hall: New Penalties For Landlords Who Don’t Fix Lead Hazards - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 26th, 2022
- Congresswoman Gwen Moore Secures Key Investments and Vital Resources for Milwaukee in House-passed FY 2023 Omnibus Funding Package - U.S. Rep. Gwen Moore - Jul 20th, 2022
- Biden’s Infrastructure Czar Visits City, Touts Lead Lateral Funding - Jeramey Jannene - Jul 13th, 2022
Read more about Lead Crisis here
Mentioned in This Press Release
Recent Press Releases by Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Wisconsin’s Medicaid Program Starts to Resume Routine OperationsMar 9th, 2023 by Wisconsin Department of Health Services
BadgerCare Plus and Medicaid members should update contact information if it has changed to ensure they get benefit renewal instructions
Gov. Evers, DHS Awards $1 million in Grants to Help Reduce Disparities in Behavioral Health Care SystemFeb 27th, 2023 by Wisconsin Department of Health Services
Equity and inclusion trainings to be offered to service providers