Baltimore’s Lead Paint Crisis Back in the Spotlight

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“There’s only one cure for lead poisoning, for the irreversible, high-cost impact of lead poisoning,”activist Ruth Ann Norton told NPR, “and that’s prevention.”

Norton was responding to Baltimore City’s (and soon Maryland’s) policy of testing every child for lead poisoning: testing will never be enough.

As NPR reports, despite banning lead paint in 1950, Baltimore City still sees “hundreds” of children poisoned each year.

That’s not to say there’s been no progress. Decades of activism have brought a steep decline in cases of lead poisoning locally. And Maryland’s lead-paint laws are more aggressive than those in most other states. But according to reporting by the Baltimore Sun, reality lags behind the law. Landlords often don’t address flaking and peeling paint despite their legal obligations.

The upshot is that advocates are calling for nothing less than a national initiative to eliminate lead paint from every home in the country.

“Why wouldn’t we do it?” Norton asked.

Read and listen to the story on NPR.


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