Lead Paint in the News-Safety Hazards in Schools and Philadelphia's Outdated Buildings Potentially Caused Lead Poisoning
In a recent lead paint news story, Portland Public Schools district recently discovered that there is chipping lead paint at Markham Elementary School. This district which was also recently rocked by a related scandal when lead was found in the schools' water earlier this year, leading to the early retirement of their superintendent.
After the lead water scandal, the district worried there was lead paint in the building as well and found there are 73 interior and 46 exterior places in the school that are potential lead trouble spots. The problem areas including varnish and paint on building walls in problematic condition, and exterior paint chips in exterior places. It was recommended that all of the chips be removed. It's important to note that they did not need to formally test for lead paint -- since Markham Elementary is an older building, they can assume that the paint is lead. If you live or work in a building built before 1978, you can similarly assume it's likely your building has lead paint.
The school district's next steps include compiling a plan to move forward in safely removing the lead paint. They need to determine which areas of the building are the greatest safety hazards, and ensure they allocate the funding to pay for the project.
Although lead paint is safe on walls, when it starts to crack or chip it becomes a safety hazard. If you notice the lead paint walls at your home or workplace cracking, chipping, or weakening, it's important to hire professional help to remove the paint safely.
Philadelphia's excess of aging homes in low-income neighborhoods has become a death trap for their residents. The culprit is lead poisoning from the old paint that's wearing off the buildings. In many cases, landlords ignore the problem until a child is in the emergency room.
In other news, staff writers from The Inquirer at Philly.com reported that: Last year alone, nearly 2,700 children tested in Philadelphia had harmful levels of lead in their blood. Lead poisoning can cause irreversible damage, including lower IQ and cause lifelong learning and behavioral problems.
They also published in this story that from 2011 to 2016, Philadelphia's courts have seen 705 cases of lead poisoning in children from old paint in their homes. In these cases, the residences have failed not just one but two building inspections. Despite the vast number of victims from lead poisoning and Philadelphia's housing laws to push for lead-safe certifications on properties, the local public-health authorities claim they don't have enough funds and support staff to take actions that would prevent more lead poisoning.
This desperate situation forces those suffering from lead poisoning into emergency rooms with children whose blood becomes so toxic that it even impairs their ability to speak. Their only hope is to catch the warning signs early on and take their case to court as soon as possible.
The CDC warns that Millions of children exposed to lead in their homes are at risk for
• damage to the brain and nervous system,
• slowed growth and development,
• learning and behavior problems (e.g., reduced IQ, ADHD, juvenile delinquency, and criminal behavior), and hearing and speech problems.
In 2014, the CDC published a study showing that 233 homes in Philadelphia county had multiple children who tested positive for lead in their bloodstream. Meanwhile, government sources now publicly declare that there is no such thing as a "safe level" of lead for a child.
A couple of weeks ago, newspapers reported that a child was diagnosed with lead paint poisoning at an apartment complex on the University of Wisconsin - Madison's campus. Lead blood tests found the child, who is about 18 months old, had levels of lead in her system that significantly exceeded the lead poisoning threshold.
Residents of the apartment complex, which houses families affiliated with the university, claim that the university failed to failed to address the earlier concerns of residents in a timely fashion. According to official records, the mother of the poisoned child wrote to the apartment complex month before she was diagnosed with lead poisoning. According to the mother, their unit had lead paint chipping off the entryway to the unit, which the child ate.
After the child was diagnosed with lead poisoning, UW Housing staff assessed the situation and determined that the apartment complex was unsafe, and a health agency required them to immediately start addressing the situation. Although the current situation has improved, families remain upset, and the child's mother plans to file a lawsuit against University Housing, as well as campus officials.
Many residents report the problems with lead paint chipping were present for quite some time prior to the child's lead poisoning, and believe UW Madison housing ignored the situation. The complex was renovated last summer, however the housing company did not work to improve the chipping lead paint in the remodel. Residents interviewed reported they expressed concerns as long ago as the 1990s, with the newspaper reporting official safety complaints against the complex that date back 10 years.
Chipping lead paint is a serious safety hazard, particularly if you regularly have young children or pets in the area who may eat the chips. Because working with lead paint on walls can be dangerous, it's a good idea to get help from a company that specializes in lead removal to remove the paint.
If you notice a home built before America's 1978 lead-paint ban with chipping, cracking or otherwise damaged paint, chances are that lead is in that very paint. Get professional help from contractors right away to avoid lead poisoning before it does permanent damage, especially to young children.
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