Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Getting the Lead Out

I'm going to astound you with a flurry of posts now that the Games are over:

"State fails to meet guidelines on lead in homes" by David Abel Globe Staff  July 22, 2015

Jahnyi O’Neal’s doctors weren’t required to notify state authorities or discuss the potential harms with his family, because Massachusetts standards allow a much higher level of lead in the blood before triggering state intervention....

Three years after federal health officials cut by half the amount of lead in a child’s blood that they said warrants medical attention, Massachusetts has yet to tighten its standards.

If I start sermonizing about all the neglects and faults in this state, I'll be dragging down the blog.

I was raised to believe we were better than everyone else up here in Massachusetts, and yet every time you turn around we are last or near-last in something (other than gay marriage, which seems to be the stereotype that supports the myth).

As a result, thousands of children in the state may be at greater risk of lead poisoning, which can cause learning disabilities, behavioral problems, and in the worst cases, even death, public health advocates and lawmakers say.

It would also shift some of the blame for those things off the vaccines, but taken at face value the story is bad. Massachusetts leaders preached one thing about the kids, but didn't really care.

Last year, nearly 5,000 children in Massachusetts tested positive for what the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention considers to be elevated lead levels, according to the state Department of Public Health.

“It’s just astounding that we continue to not follow these recommendations, which were very, very clear,” said Wendy Heiger-Bernays, an associate professor of environmental health at the Boston University School of Public Health. “There’s no excuse.”

Look, I'm not a big defender of the CDC, not at all; however, the poisonous effects of lead have been known since the days of the Roman Empire.

State officials declined to respond to questions about why the state hasn’t changed its rules.

You are in Massachusetts!

“The Massachusetts lead law is one of the nation’s strongest and most comprehensive state laws for lead poisoning prevention,” said Scott Zoback, a spokesman for the Department of Public Health. “DPH continues to work to reduce lead poisoning rates through education, evaluation, and intervention efforts across the state.”


For the state spokesman to stand there and brazenly say he doesn't smell smoke as his hair erupts in a fireball is just, well.... you wonder why we grain-of-salt what they say?


In recent years, state lawmakers have failed to pass bills that sought to update Massachusetts’ standards. Now, state lawmakers are pushing a new bill that they consider a compromise.

Which means no change, same old, same old.

The proposed legislation would allow municipalities to set their own rules for when they can order an inspection and require a homeowner to remove lead, while increasing tax credits for property owners to delead their homes and financial penalties for landlords who refuse to rent to families with young children.

Anything that gives power back to communities is good.

“This bill is about taking care of our most vulnerable children that live in challenged properties in our communities,” said Representative Jeffrey Sanchez, a Jamaica Plain Democrat, who sponsored the bill. “At the same time, it will help many small property owners who are challenged by the costs.”

Yeah, it's the poor and many times immigrant communities hit hardest -- and yet the same people directing the policy are your alleged allies, while those that oppose or note this juxtaposed madness are demonized.

The bill has the strong backing of public health officials in Boston, where 546 children younger than 4 years old last year were diagnosed with more than 5 micrograms-per-deciliter of lead in their blood. 

How much campaign cash can you donate?

That is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new standard. The state, by contrast, does not offer families help unless a child is diagnosed with more than 10 micrograms-per-deciliter.

It doesn’t require doctors to notify the Department of Public Health or insist on inspections and lead removal unless a child tests higher than 25 micrograms.

In a statement, Mayor Martin J. Walsh called the proposed legislation “long overdue” and said it would provide the city with “real enforcement tools that allow us to better protect our community.”

Like everything in Ma$$achu$etts.

Massachusetts received $420,000 last fiscal year from the federal government to help pay for education, inspections, and other efforts to reduce lead poisoning — less than half of what it received in 2010.


That one word says it all.


Also seeNew requirements needed on lead paint