Michiana communities are high risk for lead poisoning - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Michiana communities are high risk for lead poisoning

Posted:

It's an issue we don't hear about much anymore, but many children in Michiana are at high risk for lead poisoning.

The number of children with lead poison is shrinking in Berrien County, but Health Department Medical Director, Dr. Rick Johansen says the large number of older homes and rental properties make them one of the highest at-risk communities in Michigan. "It's a silent scorch, the parents and kids don't know it's there."

For years the health department tried reducing lead, but Johansen says it was a federal grant that made the difference. "I've been here since 1977. So we've been working on at this for a long time. This was a spectacular blessing to be able to get the grant to do this many houses."

The three year grant gave them two million dollars to spend on remediating homes with lead. The program just ended and Environmental Health Manager, Ken Priest says it was a success. "We actually went beyond the number of homes we were asked to do."

Priest says they first inspected at risk homes, then determined the best method for removing lead. "There were a lot of windows and doors replaced. Some houses had their siding replaced."

They tackled 124 homes. Most of the homes were in Benton Harbor and ALL cases involved young children. Dr. Johansen says, "They are the ones playing on the floor, there hands in mouth."

He says extreme cases of lead poisoning can lead to seizures and dealt, but lower amounts of exposure effect a child's IQ. "If in general it's going to drop your IQ level 8-10 points, that's a significant burden on a population."

But now with 124 more lead-safe homes, Dr. Johansen says he is excited to see fewer children with issues. "It's great news for the county and really Benton Harbor."

The Berrien County Health Department is in the process of reapplying for that same Federal Grant. They say even though they made great progress over the last 3 years, there's more work to be done.

And in Indiana, St. Joseph County is also a high risk area for lead poisoning. They were awarded the same grant and are already a year into remediating homes.

"The biggest thing is, get your home tested, get your child tested, get the facts on lead poisoning. We live in a high risk area. There's certainly plenty of resources out there that homes can be fixed. So we want people to take advantage of the grant," says environmental health specialist for St. Joseph, Melissa Papp.

She says they have over 2 million dollars to work with over the next couple of years.

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Crews assessing damage after small structural collapse on Notre Dame campus

    Crews assessing damage after small structural collapse on Notre Dame campus

    Scene at Notre Dame power plantScene at Notre Dame power plant
    Crews are on scene at Notre Dame's campus power plant after a structural collapse.Notre Dame officials say the collapse took place in an interior portion of a cooling cell in the plant. No one was injured and there are no reports of service disruptions at this time. The collapse happened right after 12:15pm. Crews are currently assessing the damage.South Bend Fire Department was requested to provide assistance, but officials say there was no fire at the scene.More >>
    Crews are on scene at Notre Dame's campus power plant after a structural collapse.Notre Dame officials say the collapse took place in an interior portion of a cooling cell in the plant. No one was injured and there are no reports of service disruptions at this time. The collapse happened right after 12:15pm. Crews are currently assessing the damage.South Bend Fire Department was requested to provide assistance, but officials say there was no fire at the scene.More >>
  • Quiet transition for Notre Dame track and Cross Country head coach

    Quiet transition for Notre Dame track and Cross Country head coach

    Photo Credit: University of Notre DamePhoto Credit: University of Notre Dame
    After coaching the Notre Dame Track and Cross Country teams for 26 seasons, Tim Connelly is no longer a coach for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame Sports Information Director John Heisler said that after Joe Piane retired, the new coach had the ability to hire a new staff. Heisler said Connelly was not part of that plan.More >>
    After coaching the Notre Dame Track and Cross Country teams for 26 seasons, Tim Connelly is no longer a coach for the Fighting Irish. Notre Dame Sports Information Director John Heisler said that after Joe Piane retired, the new coach had the ability to hire a new staff. Heisler said Connelly was not part of that plan.
    More >>
  • Man electrocuted after hitting power pole in truck

    Man electrocuted after hitting power pole in truck

    Flint-area authorities say a man apparently was electrocuted when he came in contact with a downed wire after crashing into a power pole.More >>
    Flint-area authorities say a man apparently was electrocuted when he came in contact with a downed wire after crashing into a power pole.More >>
Powered by WorldNow

Fox 28

WSJV-TV FOX 28
58096 County Road 7, South
Elkhart, IN 46517

Switchboard: 574.679.9758
News Phone: 574.679.4545
Station Fax: 574.294.1267
Email: fox28news@fox28.com

All content ©Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and WSJV. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service and Mobile Privacy Policy & Terms of Service.

Persons with disabilities who need assistance with issues relating to the content of this station's public inspection file should contact Administrative Assistant Heather Stewart at (574) 343-5310. Questions or concerns relating to the accessibility of the FCC's online public file system should be directed to the FCC at 888-225-5322, at 888-835-5322 (TTY) or at fccinfo@fcc.gov.