lead

Lead poisoning in children costs Michigan $330 million per year


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(NaturalNews) Lead poisoning is an expensive health, social and economic problem affecting 70 percent of Michigan's children and costing more than $300 million per year.

A recently published report titled: "Economic Impact of Lead Exposure and Remediation in Michigan" by the University of Michigan School of Public Health's Risk Science Center is the first Michigan study comparing the cost of dealing with lead poisoned children after the fact versus preventing the problem in the first place.

The study analyzed four major lead poisoning impact areas for increased expenditures and decreased lifetime earnings related to lead contaminated children.

1. Health Care costs: over $18 million annually
2. Crime Rates (adults and children): $105 million annually
3. Lifetime Earnings Decline: $206 million annually
4. Special Education: $2.5 million annually

The study concluded that the overall costs of lead poisoning were approximately $330 million, with taxpayers forced to fork over $145 million of that total.

The study estimated the cost of remediation for homes most in need at about $600 million. Michigan already has a program in place to mitigate lead contaminated homes, but is it adequate? If 70 percent of Michigan's children are adversely affected by lead poisoning the evidence is that it isn't. The report also revealed that 21.1 percent of children with ADHD had elevated blood levels of lead.

Rebecca Meuninck, Environmental Health Campaign Director with Ecology Center and Michigan Network for Children's Environmental Health declared: "This program needs to be expanded, fully funded, and properly staffed. We call on the Governor to reconvene Michigan's Lead Poisoning Prevention and Control Commission in order to develop a plan to end lead poisoning in Michigan."

Tracy Swinburn, research specialist at the Risk Science Center and author of the report commented: "It is well-documented that childhood lead exposure is associated with a wide range of irreversible and costly health effects and behavioral problems. However, this is the first time these impacts of lead exposure have been compared with the costs of abatement in Michigan."

Lead poisoning outside of Michigan

According to a 2010 booklet issued by the World Health Organization (WHO) Childhood Lead Poisoning,"... lead poisoning is a preventable disease that has been problematic for humanity for a millennia."

The WHO booklet explains that the health consequences of lead poisoning are devastating, especially to our children and that acute, high level lead exposures are neurologically toxic and can cause comas, convulsions, and sometimes even death.

The fortunate children who survive these types of acute lead exposures typically exhibit behavioral deficits including mental retardation and a host of other dysfunctional behavior patterns.

On the other hand, children who were chronically exposed to low levels of lead were routinely considered unharmed simply because they had no obvious poisoning symptoms initially. Yet we now know these seemingly benign exposures are indeed toxic and eventually these children did suffer serious, clinically validated damage.

It's been established that children exposed to lead, whether it's low level, chronic exposure or high level, acute exposure, will eventually exhibit mostly permanent and irreversible (by allopathic medicine) mental and physical injuries.

The toxic effects include cognitive deficits, focusing and concentration problems, behavioral problems, ADHD, dyslexia, hypertension, damage to the renal system, suppression of the immune system, and reproductive organ impairment.

The Mayo Clinic warns that lead poisoning slowly builds in the body, sometimes for months or even years before it is diagnosable. Children six years and younger are at the greatest risk for lead poisoning, primarily from eating lead-based paint chips and/or rubbing their hands in lead dust.

Of course, adults can be affected as well especially from work related exposures. For example, adults who work with batteries, do home renovations of older homes, or those working in auto repair shops.

Lead poisoning in the USA emerged in the 20th century with the widespread use of lead-based paints and lead-based gasoline for cars. Lead contamination can also be found in the air, water and soil. Other sources of lead contamination include: glazed pottery, batteries, solder, pipes, roofing materials and some cosmetics.

According to the World Health Organization, lead contamination is a worldwide problem costing "billions of dollars per year", destroying the lives of many innocent children. Most experts agree prevention is the only real solution. Or as Benjamin Franklin once wisely said "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure."

Sources for this article include:

http://wwmt.com

http://www.who.int/ceh/publications/leadguidance.pdf

http://www.mayoclinic.org

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