Editorial on Lead Poisoning: Who's at Fault and How to "Find It, Fix It, Fund It"

Chief Scientist David Jacobs Published in the Journal of Public Health Management & Practice

The Journal of Public Health Management and Practice has published an editorial today by NCHH's Chief Scientist, Dr. David Jacobs. In "Lead Poisoning: Focusing on the Fix," Dr. Jacobs recounts the largely successful actions of the lead industry to keep the poisonous metal in consumer products long after it was discovered to be a threat to public health, as well as the lack of governmental traction toward fixing the problem once and for all. And it is a problem, because childhood exposure to lead results in lifelong consequences, including decreased IQ and cognitive function, developmental delays, and behavioral problems. Very high levels of lead exposure can cause seizures, coma, and even death. The Flint water crisis a few months back has brought national attention to the problem, and the nation is talking about.

Sixteen years ago, Jacobs "helped to craft a cabinet-level Presidential task force plan that would have eliminated the problem by 2010, including an interagency budget plan. But Congress never funded it adequately, and as a direct result, the problem has dragged on needlessly, with much higher costs for property maintenance, special education, crime, health care, litigation—and, of course, human suffering."

Dr. Jacobs now recommends an initiative created by NCHH and the Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition called "Find It, Fix It, Fund It" (#findfixfund), an action drive to eliminate lead poisoning at last. If the guidelines set forth in the action drive are met, Americans can not only triumph over lead poisoning but save money doing so--a minimum of $17 returned for every dollar invested. On May 4, 2016, at the National Lead and Healthy Homes Conference, "the National Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition, the Lead and Environmental Hazards Association (LEHA), and the National Association of Lead and Healthy Homes Grantees passed a declaration calling on the President and Congress to take specific muscular action to rid the nation of lead poisoning."

Will this administration finally "Find It, Fix It, Fund It"? We'll share updates to this story as it develops.

NCHH and the Safe and Healthy Housing Coalition Announce Bold New Drive to Eliminate Lead Poisoning [url]
National Healthy Housing Standard [url]
In Wake of Flint Crisis, New Proposal Seeks to 'Focus on the Fix' for Lead Poisoning [url, Wolters Kluwer]
"Find It, Fix It, Fund It" Lead Elimination Drive Promoted by Omaha Public Radio [url]


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