Report touts policies to prevent child lead exposure

August 31, 2017 - Detroit News

Removing lead drinking water service lines from homes in 2018 would protect more than 350,000 children and yield $2.7 billion in future benefits, according to a new report on exposure of the chemical in youths.

Further, removing lead paint from older homes of low-income families also would protect more than 311,000 children and provide $3.5 billion in “future benefits” — defined as lifetime earnings and economic gains from tax revenues. Future benefits also factor in increased workforce productivity associated with better long-term health.

The findings are from the report “10 Policies to Prevent and Respond to Childhood Lead Exposure” released Wednesday by the Health Impact Project — a collaboration of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and The Pew Charitable Trusts.

A team of 40 experts conducted a cost-benefit analysis of policies intended to prevent lead exposure. The report estimates that about 1.8 million children have a history of lead exposure.

Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, director of Michigan State University-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative who’s credited with uncovering the Flint water crisis, served on the advisory committee for the report.

“What was happening in Flint for 18 months really threatened the tomorrows of an entire generation of children,” she said..

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