Workers for an environmental agency use special paint to cover lead-based paint on unoccupied houses (photograph by Karen Borchers/San Jose Mercury News).
KAREN T. BORCHERS Workers for an environmental agency use special paint to cover lead-based paint on unoccupied houses (photograph by Karen Borchers/San Jose Mercury News).

In an op-ed for the Philadelphia Inquirer Dr. Kevin Osterhoudt, medical director for the Poison Control Center at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, argues that lead poisoning has been harming children even before the nationwide attention on Flint, Mich. He argues that the “the greatest threat” is lead house paint remaining in deteriorating homes that continue to disproportionately affect the poor and minorities.

Lead paint in homes, and lead in the soil outside, can lead to irreversible effects on a child’s brain development. Cities like Philadelphia, Boston, Baltimore, Kansas City, and others are working with federal grant money to alert residents about the harmful affects of lead exposure. Through grant funding, city officials across the country are conducting testing and providing funds for new paint jobs and window replacements in homes that have high levels of lead.

Across America, lead tends to burden poor and minority families who often lack the financial resources to escape. Removal of lead from the environment and primary prevention of the harms of lead poisoning are challenging propositions requiring creative thought and serious investment.
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