The case of the lead contaminated waters in Flint, Michigan has renewed a national discussion of lead poisoning in children across the United States.
Undoubtedly, the people advocating for awareness of continual lead poisoning in children in New Jersey and Pennsylvania is not to detract from the crisis plaguing Flint, Michigan but to add to a national discussion that simply implies: More Must Be Done. In all instances, the details are in the aging infrastructure.
Sam Wood, of the Philadelphia Inquirer, reports that despite the crisis in Flint being focused mostly around water, the leading causes of lead exposure in the PA/NJ region is from the dust and chipping of lead-based paints in poorly maintained old homes. Lead exposure has been significantly lessened since lead additives in paint and gasoline have been abandoned but reports show that there is no safe level of lead exposure for children.
The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicates that for lead levels in the blood reaching 5 micrograms per deciliter that "there is evidence that nerves are affected, and there can be impact on IQ, development, and behavior." Often times lead poisoning in children goes unnoticed and is not properly diagnosed since the symptoms can be subtle.
Some experts point to the leading causes of lead poisoning in children to be disproportionately related to poor communities relegated to the older and ill-maintained housing market. Lead may impact each individual differently, but the cost of remediation is far less than the future health and education costs of the individuals chronically exposed to the hazardous chemical.
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