Mr. Chairman, thank you for calling this second hearing on lead-based paint poisoning. This is an incredibly important topic and I am glad that today we are examining the federal government’s role in eliminating this problem.
Lead-based paint poisoning remains a serious problem for too many children. And, we in Congress have an obligation to increase our efforts to combat this problem. Lead-based paint poisoning can be abated and even eliminated if we are willing to pay the price and implement the necessary measures. This is precisely why I was happy to join the Chairman and several other colleagues last month in writing to Senate appropriators, urging them to provide $200 million for the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s lead safety grant program and for $110 million for the Primary Prevention Initiative.
I worry a great deal about lead-based paint poisoning because I know it is a serious problem for many children, but it is particularly a problem in my home state of Michigan. Indeed, according to the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, Detroit ranks third in number of cases of children identified as having severe lead poisoning. And last year, the Detroit News reported that children in several Detroit neighborhoods had lead levels that were 10 times the national average. This is truly outrageous and disturbing.
The federal government’s responsibility in regard to this problem is clear and I want us to do more. To help address this problem back in Michigan, I am already working to obtain critical federal funding for the CLEARCorps program in Detroit and in Grand Rapids.
As the Chairman knows, CLEARCorps is an innovative nation-wide network of public-private partnerships that has a proven record of offering cost-effective methods of fighting childhood lead poisoning.
Mr. Chairman, I look forward to hearing from our witnesses today and, again, I thank you for your leadership on this. The day when no child is at risk for lead-based poisoning is conceivable and I want to work with you so that we make that day happen sooner rather than later.