by Brenda Music
While lead poisoning is something my son Sean will live with for the rest of his life, the outcome could have been much worse had the local and state health departments not had the resources to help us. Without federal funding for both of these agencies, Sean would never have been tested for lead by a WIC nurse. Our home would not have been tested for lead-based paint in time to save us from an environmental hazard. There would not have been any nurse-related check-ups and blood work schedules in place. We would not have been directed to AEA 267 to oversee my son’s education.
To put it simply, we might never have known that Sean was lead-poisoned. Or worse, we might have lost him. We will forever be thankful to Mike Prideaux, the Black Hawk County Health Department Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, and Rita Gergely, Iowa Department of Public Health, who have been a huge part of our lives over these past nine years.
The impact on our lives has been tremendous. Sean and I have become advocates in the fight against childhood lead poisoning and recently participated in a lobby day on Capitol Hill with the National Center for Healthy Housing. We met with Senator Tom Harkin and Iowa Representative Bruce Haley to get them to see firsthand the impact of lead poisoning and how crucial federal funding is to families just like us.
“Meeting Brenda and Sean and hearing firsthand how this Iowa family was impacted by lead poisoning is what raises awareness about the dangers of lead paint. I am impressed by their efforts to educate other families about these dangers and by their traveling to Washington to encourage Congress to fund programs that combat lead poisoning,” said Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman, Senate Appropriations Labor HHS Subcommittee.
This is what Sean wrote on Senator Harkin’s website after that meeting:
Thank you so much for listening to my Mom talk about the budget cuts to the CDC healthy homes and lead poisoning program. I am lucky I had the help, but lots of kids won’t be unless they can get more money to help them. They won’t do well in school and they won’t be able to find good jobs when they get older.
I really enjoyed meeting you at the breakfast and liked having my picture taken with you. You are a really great man and I hope one day to be able to do great things like you to help others.
Thank you so very much again for wanting to help kids like me in Iowa.
Sean Arthur Music
After meeting with Rep. Bruce Braley, he said, “I spoke with Brenda Music and her son Sean today about the dangers of lead poisoning and their efforts to preserve federal funding for important programs that help local health departments raise awareness about the danger of lead in homes. Without these programs, Brenda would have never realized the silent danger facing her sons in their own home and wouldn’t have been able to get help to treat her son. We need to ensure that life-saving programs like this one are protected so children can remain safe from dangerous poisons like lead.”Words cannot express how proud I am of my son and all that he has survived through over the past nine years. None of it would have been possible without the federal resources made available to our state and local agencies. We will continue doing our part in this crusade against childhood lead poisoning and we urge you to do the same!Help prevent lead poisoning and hazards in homes. Call or email your U.S. senators to fully fund the CDC and HUD Lead-Healthy Homes Programs.