The purpose of this assignment is to discuss the impact of an environmental public health issue and make recommendations for policy change.
Research public health issues located on the American Public Health Association (APHA) website, found in the topic Resources. Select a public health issue related to an environmental issue within the U.S. health care delivery system and examine its effect on a specific population.
Based on the public health issue selected, in 750-1,000 words address the following:
- Describe the public health issue. Include the following information: (a) what population is affected, (b) at what level does it occur (local, state, or national), and (c) evidence about the issue supported by resources.
- Discuss how the public health issue is addressed by the current policies.
- Include what changes you would propose to the existing policies. Describe what steps are required to initiate policy change.
- Identify the necessary stakeholders required to initiate policy change (government officials, administrator) and explain the importance of their role, such as budgeting or funding.
- Discuss the impact on the health care delivery system.
Include three peer-reviewed sources and two other sources to support the policy brief.
Prepare this assignment according to the guidelines found in the APA Style Guide, located in the Student Success Center.
This assignment uses a rubric. Please review the rubric prior to beginning the assignment to become familiar with the expectations for successful completion.
You are required to submit this assignment to LopesWrite. A link to the LopesWrite technical support articles is located in Course Resources if you need assistance.
Benchmark Brief Policy-Sample Solution
Lead poisoning is one of the significant public health concerns in the United States. Ideally, the naturally occurring lead metal is beneficial in making paints, ceramics, batteries, and pipes. However, it is toxic and leads to environmental pollution, human exposure, and immense public health problems. Products made from lead are an environmental threat, and the safety of using such lead-made materials is directed toward reducing the associated adverse health effects. Therefore, Local, State, and Federal governments should collaborate with appropriate stakeholders to implement policies and awareness programs to reduce exposure to lead poisoning. This essay describes lead poisoning as public health concern featuring the most affected population, current policies, and possible improvements to improve efficiency. The essay will also identify stakeholders required to initiate change and discuss the impact of lead poisoning on the healthcare delivery system.(Environmental public-health issue Impact Essay-Sample)
Lead Poisoning Exposure as a Public Health Issue
Massive industrialization exposes people to lead by inhaling burning materials containing lead during recycling, smelting and using leaded fuels, or ingesting lead-containing water from leaded pipes, dust, or food stored in lead containers. Today, the use of lead-acid batteries contributes to about 70% of lead consumption in the United States (Dignam et al., 2019). The mentioned lead consumption has significantly shifted from using lead in gasoline, water systems, and paints several years ago. Nonetheless, lead consumption is expected to increase from the high demand for lead batteries with the rise of computers, telecommunications, and automobiles. Lead consumption has increased in the healthcare industry to block radiation when taking radiographs and building soundproofs. Lead is also the first fuel choice for racing cars and piston-powered aircraft.(Environmental public-health issue Impact Essay-Sample)
Lead contamination is a national problem that has risen following the high and continued use of lead-made materials across the United States. Children, pregnant women, and adults exposed to lead from their work environment are highly affected. McFarland et al. (2022) assert that more than 170 million Americans today had early childhood exposure to high lead levels. Initially, children were predisposed form high-lead paints and pigments in toys and other consumer products. Today, lead paint in old homes is the highest source of lead exposure among children contributing to about 70% of blood lead levels in childhood in the United States. Lead hazards arise from doorframes, windows, and lead paint to hands and are ingested by children during normal hand-to-mouth activities.(Environmental public-health issue Impact Essay-Sample)
Current Policies, Possible Changes, and Process
Congress has passed different policies to address lead concerns in paint, soil, air, and water and not to mention of safe disposal of waste containing lead. The formulation of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act by Congress in 2008 reduced the lead limit in toys to 0.0009%, mitigating the levels of exposure among children (Dignam et al., 2019). The Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2021 is one of the most current policies that offer coverage under the Child’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for lead blood screening tests and other lead poisoning activities (Congress.Gov, 2023).
The mentioned acts should be amended to mitigate the risks of lead poisoning, especially among children and the general population. The Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act can be amended to ensure children’s toys are entirely made from lead-free materials. Manufacturing lead-free toys reduce the exposure from children’s toys to zero. Besides children, pregnant women and adults working in the lead-dealing industries are also exposed to lead poisoning. Thus, the Lead Poisoning Act of 2021 should be amended to expand the coverage to pregnant women and adults working in lead dealing companies.(Environmental public-health issue Impact Essay-Sample)
A policy change process begins with agenda building that comes from identifying a problem that should be addressed through change. Secondly, a member of Congress formulates and drafts the bill to accommodate desired policy changes. If a Senator is a sponsor, he introduces the bill to the Senate. The bill then goes through a committee interested in the change policy issue. A specialized committee comprising experts on the topic issues them to review the bill the before it is returned to the committee for ‘markup.’ The policy change bill is then represented to the full chamber for voting before submission to the president for signing.
Stakeholders for Policy Change
The government (Congress) is the significant stakeholder that will promote policy changes to expand the Lead Poisoning Act of 2021 to cover pregnant women and adults highly exposed to lead from occupation. Congress will conduct the due policy change process to promote its success. Government officials such as the Senators or Representatives will be instrumental in sponsoring the policy change. Public health agencies such as the US Environment Protection Agency will be vital in implementing policy changes and compliance with set laws to protect the environment and people’s health (US Environment Protection Agency, 2023). Congress produces the US fiscal budget yearly and will allocate the finances required to expand the Lead Poisoning Act of 2021. The Representative and Senator will also offer financial aid during the policy change.(Environmental public-health issue Impact Essay-Sample)
Impact on Healthcare Delivery System
Lead exposure has detrimental health effects among children that are still developing. High lead levels lead to brain damage, slowed growth, and behavioral and learning problems in children (Ruckart et al., 2019). Adults predisposed to lead while working with paints or soil contaminated with lead develop high blood pressure, nerve damage, and memory and concentration problems. Lead crosses the placenta and passes to breast milk, thus affecting the babies’ health. Multiple healthcare problems associated with leading unhealthy communities subject the health sector to the immense task of addressing health issues. More health problems than the health workforce and healthcare resources lead to poor quality of care, low patient satisfaction, and high healthcare costs. However, expanding the Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2021 to cover children, pregnant women, and high-risk individuals will promote access to affordable and quality healthcare.
Although the naturally occurring lead metal is beneficial in making paints, ceramics, batteries, and pipes, it is toxic and leads to environmental pollution, human exposure, and immense public health problems. Lead contamination is a national problem, with children being the most affected in the US. Lead hazards arise from doorframes, windows, and lead paint to hands and are ingested by children during normal hand-to-mouth activities. The Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2021 offers coverage under the Child’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for lead blood screening tests and other lead poisoning activities. Expanding the program to cover pregnant women and high-risk adults predisposed to occupational lead will improve access to healthcare.(Environmental public-health issue Impact Essay-Sample)
Congress.Gov (2023). H.R.5552 – Lead Poisoning Prevention Act of 2021. Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/117th-congress/senate-bill/1826?s=1&r=74
Dignam, T., Kaufmann, R. B., LeStourgeon, L., & Brown, M. J. (2019). Control of lead sources in the United States, 1970-2017: public health progress and current challenges to eliminating lead exposure. Journal of public health management and practice: JPHMP, 25(Suppl 1 LEAD POISONING PREVENTION), S13.
McFarland, M. J., Hauer, M. E., & Reuben, A. (2022). Half of the US population is exposed to adverse lead levels in early childhood. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 119(11), e2118631119.
Ruckart, P. Z., Ettinger, A. S., Hanna-Attisha, M., Jones, N., Davis, S. I., & Breysse, P. N. (2019). The Flint water crisis: a coordinated public health emergency response and recovery initiative. Journal of public health management and practice: JPHMP, 25(Suppl 1 LEAD POISONING PREVENTION), S84
US Environment Protection Agency (2023). Regulations. Retrieved from https://www.epa.gov/laws-regulations/regulations