“There are no known cases of elevated blood lead levels in the city linked to outdoor exposure, like from parks, playgrounds, or dust in the air,” said Caroline Johnson, deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
By Frank Kummer
Parents in the Point Breeze neighborhood say they got the news they did not want to hear at the start of summer break.
They learned that Chew Playground’s large athletic field, the only real large open area for children in the neighborhood to play in, will likely stay closed for the summer.
By Kelly Rule
“The proportion of children with elevated blood lead levels is lower in Point Breeze, and the area around Chew Playground, than across the rest of the city,” the Department of Public Health said in a notice.
By Frank Kummer
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the exact levels of lead found in the soil were not released to the public, though we do know the samples were taken in preparation for impending park renovations.
The field will remain closed until more testing can be done, the Inquirer reported. If necessary, a “lead abatement” program will be enacted.
By Bailey King
“Adults are much less susceptible to lead than children 6 and under, performing routine ground maintenance does not expose adults to the lead,” the health department said when asked if the trimming was safe.
By Kimberly Davis
Last week, DOH released the 2017 Childhood Lead Poisoning Surveillance Report, confirming that the number of poisoned kids remains oppressively intractable with 2,206 poisonings that year. This doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone, of course, because there is still toxic lead paint in many homes with young children.
In December 2016, Mayor Kenney promised to add money to the city’s Lead and Healthy Homes Program. Was that promise kept?
The mayor added $900,000 in fiscal year 2018. Almost half, or $425,000, was used to remediate lead hazards in homes owned by people who didn’t qualify for a federal grant. Health officials also used the new money to hire 11 staffers and to purchase XRF guns (handheld X-ray fluorescent devices that detect lead paint) and vehicles for inspectors. Kenney renewed the $900,000 for this fiscal year. The city also received new federal dollars. Just this month, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development awarded Philadelphia $4.1 million to help repair or remove lead paint in 240 homes with low-income families with children.
By Barbara Laker, Dylan Purcell and Wendy Ruderman
Lead poisoning is a serious health issue for many young children and their families. Lead has been shown to be particularly harmful to children between the ages of nine months and six years. The only way to know for sure if a child has been poisoned is to get the child tested for lead.
James Garrow, the city’s director of Digital Public Health, noted the Lead and Healthy Homes Program “is actually driven by the presence of children, not the simply the presence of lead in the environment.”
In other words, our unscientific findings at City Hall don’t exactly mesh with the focus of that effort as it “does not focus on work environments.”
By Brian Hickey