In response to a Baltimore Sun investigation, the entire Baltimore City Council joined Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke on Monday January 11, 2016 in scheduling a hearing at which they plan to call state and city officials to answer questions on why children — especially poor black kids in East and West Baltimore — are falling through the cracks of a system that was set up to protect them.
This report comes only a few weeks after the City of Flint, Michigan declared a State of Emergency because of their dangerous levels of lead in their drinking water.
“There are still hundreds of children living in lead-poisoned rental housing in Baltimore,” Clarke said Monday at City Hall. “We know the neighborhoods where it’s concentrated. This is a preventable disease. There is no level of lead poisoning that is not harmful.”
The Feb. 4 hearing comes in response to the Sun investigation, published in December.
The Sun investigation found that the system Maryland has set up to protect youngsters from deteriorating lead-based paint is inadequately enforced and relies on data riddled with errors. Under state law, regulators are supposed to keep track of all rental homes old enough to have lead paint, and the homes are required to pass an inspection.
But it was found that the government rarely checks.
Exposure to lead can cause behavior problems and learning disabilities in young children. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, “lead affects children’s brain development resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioral changes such as shortening of attention span and increased antisocial behavior, and reduced educational attainment. Lead exposure also causes anemia, hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs. The neurological and behavioral effects of lead are believed to be irreversible.”
While the number of lead-poisoning cases has fallen significantly in Baltimore, at least 4,900 Maryland children have been poisoned in the past decade, their brains exposed to a…