Interfaith Conference Statement
Support for a Lead-Free Milwaukee
October 7, 2019 Milwaukee City Budget Hearing
. Exposure to lead poses a significant health threat to all Milwaukee residents but disproportionately impacts women of childbearing age and children younger than six. Permanent health effects for children include lower IQ, hyperactivity, slowed growth, learning delays and disabilities, as well as kidney damage and seizures in extreme cases. In 2018, children in Milwaukee tested three times higher for elevated blood lead levels than children in the State of Wisconsin as a whole, and children specifically in Milwaukee’s Amani neighborhood tested for elevated blood lead levels at a rate five times higher than the rate in Flint, Michigan during their city’s contaminated water crisis in 2014 (MK Nutrition & Lead Task Force, 2019).
The City of Milwaukee’s aging infrastructure contains more than 75,000 lead service lines (Jannene, 2019), yet only 2,175 lead service lines have been replaced in the past three years (Shelbourne, 2019; Milwaukee Water Works). Recognizing that citywide service line replace is a slow process but that children’s lives are presently being affected by lead exposure, the Interfaith Conference of Greater Milwaukee, therefore, strongly urges the Common Council to support the “Birthing Moms Pilot Project” by passing an amendment to the city’s 2020 budget in the amount of $240,000. This project, administered by the Milwaukee Health Department, will provide NSF/ANSI Standard 53 certified lead filtering pitchers, two replacement cartridges, and lead education kits to all birthing moms from zip codes where the lead poisoning density in Milwaukee is the most severe, i.e. 53204, 53206, 53208, and 53210, prior to being discharged from the hospital.
Milwaukee Water Works. “Lead and Water.” https://city.milwaukee.gov/WaterQuality/LeadandWater#.XZJCIyV7lsP. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
MKE Nutrition & Lead Task Force (2019). “2018 Well Fed Means Less Lead Campaign Summary”
Jannene, J. (2019, July 17). https://urbanmilwaukee.com/2019/07/17/city-hall-1893-lead-service-lines-replaced. Retrieved September 30, 2019.