GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - Elevated lead levels in young children has been a problem in Grand Rapids for years. Thursday night, city leaders held a meeting to talk about the issue and share the actions being taken to help those affected.
"The reason we are concerned about lead is because it is easily absorbed in the body," says one health official.
Old paint inside homes built before 1978 is the main cause for elevated lead levels which can lead to health and behavioral problems especially in children. The heart of the problem is the 49507 zip-code where more than 15 percent of the children tested last year were affected.
"We need to do better there with getting broader testing from all parties in the community," says a health official.
More lead testing for children and homes are some of the steps the city is looking to expand in the coming months. They also want to educate homeowners and will take action against contractors.
"If the city is notified, we will go out and cite that as a hazard and it must be fixed," says one city leader.
The number of children affected in Kent County has gone down in the past decade but leaders say it's not good enough.
"This is a priority for the city, and we will not sit quietly and not do anything about this," says City Commissioner Senita Lenear.
►Make it easy to keep up to date with more stories like this. Download the WZZM 13 app now.
© 2017 WZZM-TV