Feds paying for state lead abatement training

Capital News Service
LANSING — Some federal funds triggered by Flint’s water crisis can be used to remove lead from old homes statewide, but a shortage of contractors certified to do the work is an obstacle to getting the job done. “Money’s coming into the state triggered by Flint, but it’ll be used all around the state,” said Mary Sue Schottenfelds, executive director of CLEARCorps Detroit, a nonprofit organization that runs the Lead Safe Homes Program for city residents. “We are in desperate need of lead contractors who are certified and interested in state projects.”
To create more specialists, the state will use $20,000 of federal money to cover training and licensing costs for those looking to get certified in lead removal, said Jennifer Eisner, the public information officer for Michigan’s Department of Health and Human Services. “Now there’s more of a push to get people certified because there’s going to be a lot of abatement work coming,” said Jay Wagar, senior certification officer of the state’s Healthy Homes Section. Earlier this year, Lansing was awarded $2.3 million in federal funds for lead abatement and Grand Rapids received $2.9 million.

Elevated levels of lead in adults unnoticed

Capital News Service
LANSING —  While the Flint water crisis brought national attention to children exposed to lead, a larger group of adults and children with elevated lead levels is mostly ignored, officials say.  
Young children whose parents have elevated blood lead levels are a high-risk group, health experts say. In Michigan, 34 percent of children under 6 with parents who have elevated lead levels also have elevated levels, according to a 2014 report by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. The lead comes home on the shoes and clothes of the parents who pick it up at work. “The percentage of children in this group is much higher than in Flint,” said  Ken Rosenman, chief of the Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine at Michigan State University.

Snyder confuses public relations with public health solutions

Capital News Service
(This commentary originally appeared in Domemagazine.com). LANSING — Gov. Rick Snyder remains under heavy fire for the amount of time it took for him to become publicly concerned with Flint’s escalating unsafe water crisis and to act decisively on those concerns. But the governor is certainly making up for lost time – if you measure concern by the number of press releases flooding from his office. That deluge of pronouncements, announcements, advisories and denouncements reflects a misperception that better PR is – if not a solution to the poisoning of a city– at least a priority deflection of too-slow-to-act criticisms and of the unfavorable and unwelcome international media attention the crisis continues to draw. By my rough tally, for example, his office issued 11 press releases and advisories between Feb.

Proposal would add governor to FOIA

Capital News Service
LANSING – The Flint water crisis could give a boost to proposed changes to Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) by adding the legislative branch and governor’s office to government bodies that must follow it. The changes, introduced by Sen. Coleman Young II, D-Detroit, are co-sponsored by 10 senators. Michigan’s Freedom of Information Act ensures that the public is entitled to full and complete information regarding governmental affairs. It excludes both the governor and the Legislature. In recent years, the act has not been immune to amendments.