Workers replace a water service line in Flint, Mich.

Flint, MI — Mikesha Loring, Flint’s Lead-Based Paint Hazard Control Program Manager, has been working hard for years to limit lead exposure for residents in the city.

Now, with a $15,000 grant from Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), she can focus more on outreach. Loring said lead education is really important to her as someone who grew up in Flint and raised her own son here.

“Lead has more of a hazardous effect in children,” she said. “They stay in the child’s system longer than they do adults.”

Healthy Babies Bright Futures is a national nonprofit focused on reducing toxin exposure for kids under 2 years old and expectant parents, and the city’s public health office, in which Loring is based, has been doing just that by getting residents signed up for Flint’s lead service line replacement program.

Kyra Naumoff, Bright Cities Program Director with HBBF, said she hopes Health Babies Bright Futures can continue to support this type of work in Flint.

“We love Flint as a partner,” she said.

Through the new grant, the city’s public health team will be going door to door and having conversations with residents about what to look for when it comes to lead exposure. This may include sharing images of what an old pipe or a new pipe looks like and information on how to apply to get pipes replaced.

Loring said she has a list of addresses for homes that have not yet opted in to get their service lines replaced, an ongoing program for the city which is expected to conclude on Aug. 1 of this year.

Many of the people who live in these homes may have young children, she said, and her team will begin their door knocking by the end of March or early April thanks to the HBBF grant.

“A lot of times the residents don’t have the knowledge,” Loring told Flint Beat. “They’re unaware of the toxins, and they’re unaware of how harmful different things can be.”

Loring said her program is also partnering with “Whew, Mama,” a Flint-based organization, for assistance with education, workshops and dispersing informational materials about lead line pipe replacement. She added that the city’s lead service line replacement program is still accepting applications.

Sophia is Flint Beat's City Hall reporter. She joins the team after previously reporting for the Livingston Daily and the Lansing State Journal, along with some freelance work with The New York Times....