Stunted growth. Lower IQ. Speech and language problems. Damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and hearing. Chronic seizures. This is what lead poisoning can do to a child.
My son is 20-months-old and gets his lead levels checked regularly by the pediatrician. And even though I know my 1930s Philadelphia row home is lead-safe, I'm always anxious about what the test results will reveal. So far he's remained at a safe level, but I know that is not the case for far too many other children
Philadelphia is the poorest city in the United States, and 85-92% of our housing units were built before 1978 when lead paint was banned.
That means there are a lot of houses and apartments in my city with lead paint in them. And a lot of old buildings with residents who cannot afford to maintain them or whose landlords don't care enough to make them safe. The result is that Philadelphia children, especially those living in low-income housing, are ingesting paint chips and dust filled with lead.
Philadelphia has taken steps to address this terrifying problem that impacts thousands of our city's kids every year, but federal funding for our lead poisoning prevention programs is drying up. And a recent report has found that the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is not doing its part to ensure that pubic housing is safe.
There are about 7,000 public housing developments nationwide, the vast majority of which were built before 1978. Only 2,700 of them have had lead paint inspections this year. It turns out that for years HUD has allowed local housing authorities to get away with failing to report on lead levels and their efforts to eliminate lead hazards.
As a result, our country's most vulnerable children are being poisoned by the thousands.Sign my petition to demand that HUD do its job and protect our children from lead poisoning.