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Hawkins To Call for Action on Child Lead Poisoning
For immediate release: July 17, 2018
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, will hold a news conference in Syracuse on Wednesday July 18 to call for statewide action to address the lead contamination crisis for children.
The press conference will take place at 10:30 AM In front of Westside Academy at Blodgett, 312 Oswego St.
While lead contamination is a problem statewide, Syracuse is the child lead poisoning capital of the nation. 40% of Syracuse children had blood lead levels between 5 and 10 micrograms per deciliter.
Westside Academy at Blodgett is a symbol of the lack of attention in Syracuse to fixing up old schools. It sits in the middle of a neighborhood with high rates of poverty and lead poisoning. The 100-year-old school was once again denied renovation in the current round of funding by the Joint School Construction Board, even though it is the most dilapidated school in the city.
Although rates of childhood lead poisoning in New York have declined since 1998, childhood lead poisoning remains a significant public health problem in NYC and statewide, where rates remain above national averages. New York State consistently ranks high on key risk factors associated with lead poisoning, including many young children living in poverty, a large immigrant population, and an older, deteriorated housing stock.
Lead is highly toxic and is most harmful to children in their early years. Elevated blood lead levels can trigger serious health conditions, ranging from gastro-intestinal symptoms to chronic kidney inflammation or even convulsions. A strong link also exists between such lead levels and reduced IQ and behavioral problems. These secondary impacts can then negatively affect the social and economic prospects of children far into their future.
The main source of lead exposure in children is lead-based house paint and the contaminated dust it generates when the paint peels, chips or is disturbed during home renovations when painted surfaces are prepared for repainting.