There is an entirely preventable health disaster plaguing Pennsylvania that robs thousands of children of their potential and drains communities’ resources with avoidable costs – lead poisoning. This may surprise you because many folks think lead poisoning is a thing of the past.
As many as 70% of all PA homes today still have lead paint on their walls and trim. That old paint cracks, peels, and turns into dust, which young children get on their fingers and into their mouths and bodies. Black and Hispanic children have higher rates of lead paint poisoning because they are more likely to live in older private homes or rental units with deteriorated lead-based paint.
Lead is toxic. In children, this poisonous metal wreaks havoc, causing deficits in motor skills, speech, hearing, and cognitive ability. It can lead to attention deficit disorder and push children into special education. Down the road, adult victims of this avoidable condition can earn less, be more prone to reckless behavior and crime, and rely more on public aid.