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April 4, 2013
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. In it, the CDC discussed its findings on Blood Lead Levels in children. It confirmed what we all know well – there is no safe level of lead and prevention is the only cure. According to the report, 535,000 children ages 1-5 have BLLs over 5µg/dL representing 2.6% of American children in this age range.
The detrimental and irreversible effects of lead poisoning are well-documented. As advocates for children and families, it is critically important that we increase the public and political will to bring an end to this problem that has devastated our communities for generations. Lead poisoning undermines a child’s ability to succeed in the classroom and in life. The results are devastating - learning disabilities, violent and aggressive behavior, higher dropout rates and a greater likelihood of involvement with the criminal justice system.
Childhood lead poisoning is 100 percent preventable and it can be completely eradicated. For every dollar invested in the reduction of lead hazards, taxpayers get back up to $214. Any savvy investor would jump at the chance for a 200% return on their investment. Are our children not worth this same return?
We urge Congress to act swiftly to restore funding to the CDC’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program that supports education, surveillance and enforcement. Furthermore, we ask that Congress look for ways to invest in the CDC and HUD programs that have proven to be effective in remediating housing-based lead hazards. To eradicate lead takes a strong commitment at both the federal and local government levels. But it is possible with adequate funding and continued investment in what we know works – and that is prevention.
We can pay now by funding the programs that have proven effective at reducing the incidence of lead poisoning, or we can pay later the hundreds of billions of dollars that will need to be invested in long term healthcare, remedial education, juvenile justice, and the support of individuals who will never achieve their full potential.
More information on the CDC findings can be found here.