Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The City of Democracy and Opportunity

unless you're a child with elevated lead blood levels which might explain why you're really bad at school.

For those of you that know, DC not only has a violent crime wave (today is an all hands on deck day - don't you have those in your city?), city council corruption (yes, Marion Berry was re-elected), and is losing its public garden's (if you are latino that is) but it also has a lead in water problem. As in a HUGE lead in water problem, which has been under investigation by community groups for almost 10 years and why I receive almost monthly updates to how lead is not that problematic to your health informational brochures in my mailbox.

The Washington Post published an article today that talks about our beloved city's lead levels in children, as told by this opening paragraph: "More than twice as many D.C. children as previously reported by federal and local health officials had high levels of lead in their blood amid the city's drinking water crisis, according to congressional investigators, throwing into doubt assurances by those officials that the lead in tap water did not seriously harm city children."

And then continued with this beauty: "The subcommittee's investigators uncovered the higher figures by seeking the data directly from all D.C. labs that analyze local test results. After the lead problem became public in 2004, blood tests from thousands of city children taken in 2003 were inexplicably missing from D.C. government files."

A little plug for my own neighborhood CH: "Recent research at Children's National Medical Center indicates that children who lived in neighborhoods with the highest concentrations of lead in the water -- Capitol Hill, Columbia Heights and northern sections of Ward 4 -- were much more likely to have elevated lead in their bloodstream."

Strangely, an article was released this morning discussing the behavorial impacts of elevated lead levels in children: "A study of young children in India has found that higher blood lead levels are associated with a suite of behavioral and thinking problems that can alter attention, abstract thinking and appropriate behavior. This study is one of the first to pinpoint specific childhood behaviors and cognitive skills affected by lead exposure, most notably anxiety, social problems and overall executive function (planning, problem solving, behavior control)."

I'd like to know if there is any discussion between the DC police department, CDC, and Department of Education to discuss the corrlations between escalated violence, test scores and elevated blood levels. Somehow in a city where social workers are being fired, put in jail, whathaveyou because of the deaths of children in foster care, I really doubt anyone is looking that deeply at the social issues in this city.


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