We all are now aware of the dangers of lead poisoning and the devastating effect lead can have on the neurological development of children. I was greatly saddened to read my local newspaper today, The Roanoke Times, and learn that a federally funded program (Lead Safe) to assist property owners in the removal of lead will expire January 1, 2008. Roanoke City officials are uncertain whether to reapply for the federal grant! Why?
It appears that Roanoke may not reapply because the Virginia Department of Health reported only 16 local children under the age of 6 had elevated lead levels in their blood in 2006. There were only 11 confirmed cases through September of this year. The Lead Safe program run by neighbors in Lynchburg, Virginia is not doing any better!
I have two responses/observations: First, 1 case of a child with dangerous levels of lead is enough to fill out the application for federal assistance in removing lead! The impact on children is devastating as the symptoms include reduced IQ’s and inability to succeed in school. Second, I seriously doubt that there were only 16 children poisoned by lead in 2006! The VDH estimates that there are at least 1,390 homes at risk for lead paint contamination…and you expect me to believe that only 27 children have lived in those 1,390 homes over the last 30 years! Doubtful….very doubtful!