The Cleveland Plain Dealer recently reported on Altarum’s new Value of Lead Prevention tool, which provides comprehensive state-level data on the cost of lead exposure, and the economic benefits of interventions. “For children born this year, exposure to lead in homes, water and the soil will cost Ohio nearly $3 billion in reduced productivity and premature mortality, as well as added health care, education and social assistance spending,” the article states, citing data from Altarum’s tool.
Altarum senior analyst Corey Rhyan explained to the Plain Dealer that the estimates provided in the tool are essentially annual costs, which would accrue each year action isn’t taken to prevent future lead exposure, adding “… the cost of lead poisoning is really much larger than the $3 billion estimate, because the tool is based only on the impacts of children born in 2019.”
The tool from Altarum models the costs and return on investment for three different interventions that could reduce exposure to lead: 1) controlling and removing lead-based paint hazards in homes; 2) replacing old lead service lines carrying water into homes; and 3) enforcing the Environmental Protection Agency’s renovation, repair and painting standards. The tool predicts that with these three practices, Ohio could reap more than $500 million in net economic benefits.
Rhyan says that most of the benefit of these practices will accrue directly to individuals in the form of increased wages and better health. “We’re just talking about the economic benefits here…there are obviously huge equity, welfare, and child protection reasons…to do this work.”
Read the full article “New tool estimates cost of child lead poisoning in Ohio at $2.8 billion”, and view Altarum’s original brief on the Value of Lead Prevention tool, “New Online Tool Calculates the Cost and Economic Benefits of Preventing Childhood Lead Exposure in the United States”