The Problem
- Overview
- Definitions
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Detroit, MI

The Problem:

How big is the lead problem in Detroit?
The United States Public Health Services estimated that 1 child in 6 suffers from lead poisoning with a total of 3-4 million children affected nationwide. According to Detroit Health Department and the Census, 73.9% of the City's housing was built before 1955 and, therefore, contains paint with a high proportion of lead. All children in the City of Detroit are considered at-risk by the State.

Where does lead come from?

  • Lead-based paint used in homes prior to 1978.
    • Paint produces dust and chips when it deteriorates or is poorly maintained. Dust is the most common means of ingestion and inhalation.
    • Younger children are more likely to eat paint chips and dust, putting them at a higher risk of poisoning.
  • Soil -- lead dust exists in soil
    • Lead washes into the soil off the sides of houses during rainfall. Lead is also absorbed into soil from automotive and industrial emissions. There are higher concentrations closer to the CBD.
  • Water
    • Water travels through older pipes with lead or lead solder.

    What effect does lead have on children?
    • The effects on children include decreased IQ, motor development delays, behavioral problems, impaired growth, & hearing problems.
    • One key study of middle class children estimated that a ten point increase in blood lead levels at age two was related to nearly 9 points lower in educational achievement at age 10*.

    Can I have a list of problems that may arise as a result of exposure to lead?
    • poor classroom performance.
    • cognitive deficits.
    • motor development delays.
    • behavioral problems.
    • impaired growth.
    • hearing dysfunction.
    • high doses of lead can be fatal.
    • decreased IQ.
    • increased liklihood of referral into special services.

    What are some of the symptoms of exposure to lead?
    Headaches, stomachaches, sleeping and eating disorders, attention deficit disorder, and weakness or clumsiness.

    What is lead abatement and how is it achieved?
    • Abatement is removal of the lead danger.
      • Remove or replace windows or doors.
      • Might include removal or tilling of soil.
      • Lead is controlled for 20 years by "control".
    • Total Abatement is the removal or replacement of every lead painted item in the dwelling.
      • Involves temporary relocation of the resident



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