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Local laws key to reducing dangers of lead poisoning
Date:5/6/2013

pire Justice Center, co-author of the study. "Consequently, local lead abatement efforts recognize that lead hazards are related to how owners maintain houses that contain lead paint."

Medical research shows that lead exposure has significant health, learning, and behavioral effects, even at levels previously thought to be safe. These findings and the realization that the economic cost of lead poisoning in the form of medical care, special education, and criminal justice are frequently borne by local communities and taxpayers have given rise to several community-based efforts to make homes lead safe.

In Rochester, the disclosure in 2001 that rates of lead poisoning in children exceeded national rates by 10 fold became a rallying cry for action. The subsequent grassroots outreach, education, and advocacy efforts led by organizations such as the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning resulted in the passage of a historic lead abatement ordinance by the City of Rochester in 2005.

Over the last several years, more than a dozen municipalities across the country have enacted or amended local lead laws. The study out this week examined local lead abatement efforts in eight communities: Rochester, Burlington, VT, Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Philadelphia, San Diego, and Washington, DC.

The study found that local laws can be highly effective tools to address lead hazards. Specifically, because lead hazards are linked to housing and municipalities typically have the ability to regulate private housing through code enforcement. In Rochester, the new lead abatement ordinance requires regular inspections for lead paint hazards as a part of the city's certificate of occupancy process for rental properties.

The City of Rochester also works with the Monroe County Department of Public Health to identify neighborhoods with high concentrations of children with elevated blood lead levels and revise designations of "high risk"
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Contact: Mark Michaud
mark_michaud@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-4790
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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