HHS Awards $3.2 Million for a Registry of Residents Affected by Lead Exposure in Flint, Michigan

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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced today that Michigan State University (MSU) will receive approximately $3.2 million to establish a registry of Flint residents who were exposed to lead-contaminated water from the Flint Water System during 2014-2015. The funds are the first installment of a 4-year, $14.4 million grant.

MSU will use the funds in partnership with the City of Flint leadership and other community organizations, clinical partners and educators, and stakeholders that serve Flint residents. They will address community health concerns related to lead exposures, monitor health outcomes among registrants, and expand efforts to reduce and eliminate lead in the community.

“This funding is a continuation of the Trump Administration’s commitment to support the affected or at-risk residents of Flint, Michigan, who have been exposed to lead-contaminated drinking water,” said Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D. “Flint residents will benefit from having their health monitored over time and from being readily connected to services that will help reduce the health effects of lead exposure. Information collected by the registry will guide important health decisions and recommendations for the City of Flint and the State of Michigan for years to come.”

Lead exposures are a well-known hazard for adults. In children, lead exposure can result in serious effects on IQ, ability to pay attention, and academic achievement. The Flint registry will link registrants’ data on exposure, health, and key childhood developmental milestones with their participation in services through a voluntary referral network.

“CDC is committed to supporting the Flint Lead Exposure Registry as part of our ongoing efforts across the country to reduce and prevent exposure to lead,” said Brenda Fitzgerald, M.D., CDC director and administrator of the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. “Using our experience with the Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention program, we will work hard to make sure that the Registry meets the needs of Flint residents affected by this crisis.”

Tracking both children and adults will be extremely valuable in providing important health impacts from exposure and the impact of community services on recovery. This joint effort will evaluate the effectiveness of available health, educational, environmental, and community services on improving the health of participants.

“The registry will be a powerful tool to understand, measure, and improve the lives of those exposed to the contaminated water,” said Mona Hanna-Attisha, M.D., M.P.H., director of the MSU-Hurley Children’s Hospital Pediatric Public Health Initiative, who will lead the registry effort. “The more people who participate in the registry, the more powerful this tool will be for Flint and for communities everywhere that continue to suffer from preventable lead exposure.”

In January 2017, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality stated that the lead levels in city water tested below federal limits, but recommends that residents use filtered or bottled water for drinking or cooking while pipe replacements continue.

The 2016 Water Infrastructure Improvements for the Nation Act authorized funding for the registry, which will collect baseline and follow-up information from eligible residents.

For more information about CDC’s Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/.

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