Dan Martin / news@WHMI.com

The state of Michigan is continuing to lead the way in its efforts to prevent lead exposure...and is announcing a new strategy to protect families.

As part of the state's effort, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS) is touting its "Get Ahead of Lead" statewide strategy to identify and take steps to prevent lead exposure from household plumbing.

To Get Ahead of Lead, MDHHS recommends Michigan households use a certified lead-reducing drinking water filter...particularly if your home has lead or galvanized plumbing or a lead service line carrying water from the street to their residence.

Contact your local water supply authority to determine if you have a lead service line.

MDHHS director Elizabeth Hertel says "Michigan is committed to protecting families from lead exposure by working with communities across the state to reduce or eliminate all sources of lead in the home.” She adds, “By following the recommendations of the Get Ahead of Lead initiative, families can be secure in the knowledge that they have one more layer of protection between themselves and lead.”

The initiative also includes a data-driven strategy designed to identify communities at high risk for elevated blood lead levels, as well as the identification of communities and children most at risk of lead exposure based on age of housing stock, poverty levels, and other factors. This approach focuses on deploying additional resources based on community vulnerability. Communities receiving additional assistance are defined as Filter Safety Net Communities and Faucet and Filter Safety Net Communities.

Lead exposure can come from many sources including paint in homes built before 1978, dust, soil, drinking water from older plumbing, jobs or hobbies that involve lead, and some imported goods.
Following are tips that everyone can use to help maintain your home’s drinking water quality.

Keep your water moving by doing everyday activities such as:
Running a load of laundry.
Washing dishes.
Taking a shower.
Flushing the toilet.
Clean the aerators on your faucets at least once every six months to remove trapped lead and other particles.
Run your water until it is cold before using it for drinking, cooking, and making baby formula.

Parents and caretakers of children less than 6 years old should talk to their child’s healthcare provider about blood lead testing, especially if there is concern for lead exposure. Lead exposure early in life has been shown to cause problems with learning, behavior, hearing, and growth.

MDHHS operates the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, which coordinates local public health case management for families with a child with an elevated blood lead level. Case management assists families with reducing lead exposure and working with their healthcare providers.

Visit the provided link for more information about the statewide strategy.