Over the past forty years, blood lead concentrations in American children have declined dramatically following the elimination of lead from gasoline, paints, and other consumer products. Still, across the US, more than half a million children ages 1 through 5 suffer lead poisoning, according to estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
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This week EPA held a listening session to consider repealing, replacing or modifying rules that protect kids from lead. Maureen Swanson, Director of Learning Disabilities Association of America’s Healthy Children Project delivered the following statement.
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Congress voted to pass a package of legislation that authorizes $170 million to respond to the Flint water crisis, with additional resources to address the national problem of lead exposure.
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Wednesday night, the House of Representatives passed its version of the Water Resources Development Act (WRDA) by a wide margin.
Quite frankly, the stories from Flint are hard to hear. It’s outrageous that families in Flint are charged some of the highest water bills in the nation for water that they can’t use. It’s unthinkable to most that the lead contamination crisis that began in Flint more than two years ago has not been “solved” by now. It’s unconscionable that Flint families are in the third year of being unable to turn on the faucet and get a drink of water.
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All of the attention to the Flint tragedy should result first and foremost in justice and concrete aid for Flint, but it should also serve as a wake-up call that America has unfinished business with lead.
If you are outraged by the lead poisoning of children in Flint, Michigan, take a look at what’s happening just 250 miles to the east, near Toronto, where a Canadian company continues to produce lead compounds and distribute them worldwide for use in paints and plastics.