Childhood Lead Poisoning Report

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.


Toxic City Investigation Review

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

Preventing Childhood Lead Poisoning

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.

Lead in City Hall

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

2016 Lead Poisoning Surveillance Report

PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia Department of Public Health released the 2016 Childhood Lead Poisoning Surveillance Report, which details blood lead level screening rates, lead exposure rates, services provided in response to elevated blood lead levels, and risk factors for elevated blood lead levels. The Health Department found that in 2016 just 0.9% of Philadelphia children screened for lead poisoning had newly-identified venous blood lead levels greater than or equal to 10 ug/dL. This is a marked drop from 2007, when 2.3% of Philadelphia children who were screened had venous blood levels greater than or equal to 10 ug/dL. Nearly three-quarters (74.9%) of Philadelphia children born in 2014 were screened by the time they were two years old, an increase over children born in 2013 (72.3%). Of children born in 2005, in contrast, only 57.6% were screen for elevated blood lead levels by two years of age.