When President Obama signed the omnibus budget bill in December, he left a critical children’s health program in the lurch! The final bill slashed the Centers for Disease Control’s (CDC) healthy homes and lead poisoning prevention program by 94%. Without immediate intervention from the President, the 35 state offices funded by this program will face devastating cutbacks, leaving half a million lead poisoned children without the full services they need in the coming year.
In the fight against lead poisoning, state healthy homes programs are like the fire department. They get the call when kids are lead poisoned, and make sure families get immediate help. Without the work they do to track basic data about how and where kids are getting lead poisoned, parents and health experts alike will be plunged into the dark about whose kids are at the highest risk. President Obama has the power to step in and restore the healthy homes budget to the $31 million necessary to save this critical program now. Join us in calling on President Obama to take action immediately!
When young children are lead poisoned, they can suffer permanent damage to the brain, neurological system, and other organs. Depending on the exposure level and other factors, this leaves children with lifelong challenges ranging from behavior and learning problems to severe cognitive impairment, organ damage, and worse.
Although significant government funding for education and hazard reduction has reduced lead poisoning rates in recent years, it's far too early to give up the fight. In fact, new research shows that our current standards for measuring lead poisoning are outdated, and under-report the severity of the problem. Just last month, a CDC advisory committee recommended that the federal government lower the official threshold for when a child is considered to have so much lead in his or her blood that immediate intervention is necessary. This is likely to double the caseload of poisoned kids needing assistance – the kids who will be left in the lurch if these cuts are maintained.
Failing to save this program will mean that the federal government is abandoning the low-income families and children of color who bear the brunt of the burden of lead poisoning. In some areas of the country, African American and Latino children are 8 to 9 times more likely to enter school with a history of lead poisoning. This is a terrible injustice that cannot be allowed to continue.
Sign our petition today and call on President Obama to restore funding to help lead poisoned children!
In the fight against lead poisoning, the Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program is like the fire department. CDC-funded health officials in 35 states around the country get the call when kids in their communities are lead poisoned, and make sure they get immediate help.
Unfortunately, studies show that we have been under-counting serious poisoning cases, and funding for intervention should increase, not disappear. Just last month, a CDC advisory committee issued a recommendation that the federal government lower the threshold for when a child is considered to have so much lead in his or her blood that immediate intervention is necessary. As a result, the number of lead poisoned kids who qualify for help is expected to double in the next year.
This is a critical opportunity to take a stand on two major issues you have pledged to tackle: environmental justice and education. Low-income families and children of color continue to suffer a truly unjust, disproportionate impact from lead poisoning. In some areas of the country, African American and Latino children are 8 to 9 times more likely to enter school with a history of lead poisoning.
Sadly, we know too much about what happens next. Studies show that educating a child with lead poisoning costs an extra $38,000 on average. Additionally, children poisoned by lead are 7 times more likely to drop out of school and 6 times more likely to end up in the juvenile justice system. If even half of the children with lead poisoning access the educational services they need and deserve, that’s a $10 billion price tag.
Children around the country are depending on you, and the stakes are high. We urge you to fix this terrible mistake and save the CDC’s Healthy Homes and Lead Poisoning Prevention Program.