In Cleveland, Ohio 14.2% of children tested have elevated levels of lead in their blood. While attention has been focused on Flint, Mich., the issue of lead reaches beyond lead contamination in Flint’s water. As Michael Wines writes in the New York Times, cities across the country are grappling with the affects of lead paint in homes which is “a tragic reminder that one of the great public health crusades of the 20th century remains unfinished.”

In the 1970s, the U.S. government and city officials across the country took a stand against the lead paint industry by banning lead-based household paints in 1978. However, since 2006, Wines reports that progress has slowed in removing lead paint which continues to affect nearly 37 million homes and apartments with nearly 23 million homes with “potentially hazardous levels of lead in soil, paint chips, or household dust.” Lead paints have a detrimental affect on the brain development of children which can lead to further behavioral and cognitive problems down the road. The Times writes also on how lead paint disproportionately has affected those in poor communities that are predominantly minority.

Wines looks at how states like Ohio have failed their citizens by proving adequate funding for lead poisoning prevention programs.

The Ohio Legislature established a Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund in 2003 to attack the lead-paint problem in older homes and to pay for blood tests of children without medical insurance — but never gave it even a dollar. On Cleveland’s east side, the Glenville neighborhood embodies the neglect of the lead problem and the hope that it might be erased. At the turn of the 20th century, Glenville was called Cleveland’s Gold Coast, a mansion-studded enclave where John D. Rockefeller had donated land for the city’s largest park. By the 1960s, the wealthy had fled to the suburbs and Glenville was part of the inner city, poor and almost entirely black.
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