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KENOSHA — Gov. Tony Evers today signed Executive Order 36 to address the issue of lead exposure in drinking water. The governor was joined by Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes, Jeanne Ayers from Department of Health Services, Mark Melotik from Kenosha County Public Health Department, and Department of Natural Resources Secretary-designee Preston Cole.
According to the Department of Health Services, Wisconsin was among the top 10 states for the percentage of children found to be lead poisoned after blood lead level testing, with one in 13 Wisconsin children testing for dangerous levels of lead exposure. Lead poisoning has affected children in every county in Wisconsin. Since 1996, over 200,000 children have been identified as having dangerous amounts of lead in their body.
Executive Order 36 creates a position within the Department of Health Services to serve as the coordinator of the state’s efforts to address Wisconsin’s lead crisis through collaboration across state agencies and within the department. Executive Order 36 also directs DHS to provide all necessary staffing and resources to create collaboration among local health departments and community organizations to inform and protect Wisconsinites against the public health risks of lead poisoning.
“Lead poisoning is a statewide risk not just in Kenosha and Milwaukee, but in communities around the state. The Department of Health Services has identified lead-poisoned children in every single county in Wisconsin,” said Gov. Evers. “We know that it will take a collaborative effort to ensure that everyone is able to drink clean water from their tap, and I look forward to working with DHS and folks around the state to support this important step forward.”
View Executive Order 36 here.