A December 19 Reuters “Off the Charts” report said “examination of lead testing results across the country found almost 3,000 areas with poisoning rates far higher than in” Flint, MI.
“Yet many of these lead hotspots are receiving little attention or funding” – showing shocking contempt for the health and welfare of millions of Americans.
Lead poisoning isn’t confined to Flint. It’s not even one of the most dangerous US hot spots. According to information obtained by Reuters, “nearly 3,000 areas with recently recorded lead poisoning rates (have) at least double those in Flint during the peak of that city’s contamination crisis.”
“And more than 1,100 of these communities had a rate of elevated blood tests at least four times higher.”
“Like Flint, many of these localities are plagued by legacy lead: crumbling paint, plumbing, or industrial waste left behind. Unlike Flint, many have received little attention or funding to combat poisoning.”
Parts of Philadelphia, Baltimore, Cleveland, Milwaukee, South Bend and many other cities are affected. Reuters examined community blood-testing results of children, obtained from state health departments and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to NYU Langone Medical Center’s Child Study Center Child and Adolescent Psychiatry chairwoman Dr. Helen Egger, “disparities…found between areas have stark implications.”
“Where lead poisoning remains common, many children will have developmental delays and start out behind all the rest.”
Slight lead blood level elevations alone can impair IQ and stunt development. CDC estimates 2.5% of children nationwide have elevated levels. In the near-3,000 communities studied, it’s much higher.
Reuters explained “(l)egacy lead – in paint, plumbing, yards, well-water or even playgrounds – means that kids in many neighborhoods remain at a disproportionately high risk of poisoning.”
“The available data includes 21 states, home to around 61 percent of the US population. Health departments in some states didn’t possess the data or respond to records requests. Others wouldn’t share it, saying they weren’t required to, or citing patient privacy laws.”
Incomplete data suggests a likely much greater nationwide problem than what’s currently known, developing children mostly affected.