National Lead Poisoning Week – October 22 – 28


Lead Poisoning Material Available at City Hall From October 22 – 28, 2017.  Call 756-8116 For More Information.

Jen Burrell knows well the ups and downs of having a child diagnosed with lead poisoning.  Several years ago, her daughter was diagnosed with an elevated level of lead poisoning.  It was determined through a simple blood test that her daughter’s lead levels were high.  If not corrected, permanent damage can result in the affected child.  It’s believed that Jen’s daughter was exposed to lead from an old piece of furniture painted with lead paint  in their Munjoy Hill apartment.

As a single mom and small business owner, Jen already had her hands full.  She did not need more complications in her life.  Ultimately, she and her pre-school child, under pressure from the state’s “lead-nurse” moved from their old apartment on Munjoy Hill to a newer building elsewhere in the  City of Portland.  That move was another stress in her life.  Finding an apartment for the two of them with a low vacancy rate in Portland presented another challenge in her already busy life. But it turned out to be a good move that she did not regret. Life in a newer building can be  more convenient she once told this blogger.  And more importantly, her daughter’s health seems to be just fine.

Today marks the end of National Lead Poisoning Week – it ran from October 22 – 28th according to a press release issued by the city.  Nearly half a million children living in the US have elevated blood levels that may cause significant damage to their health.  Major sources of lead exposure to US children include lead based paint and  lead-contaminated dust in deteriorating buildings.  Lead poisoning can also be contracted from contaminated drinking water and soil.

According to recent data, Portland rates for elevated blood levels in children up to 36 months are nearly twice that of the state average.  Screening rates in Portland for lead poisoning in children were three points lower than the state wide average.  And the current EPA budget under Administrator Scott Pruitt calls for a reduction in lead poisoning funding.

For more information on lead poisoning and testing, please call Karlene Hafemann at 207 – 756-8116 or email her at: in the city’s health department.

(Note: in The New York Times, dated October 29, 2017 columnist Nicholas Kristof writes:  “Democrats sometimes gloat that Trump hasn’t managed to pass significant legislation so far, which is true.  But he has been tragically effective at dismantling environmental and health regulations – so that Trump’s most enduring legacy may be cancer, infertillty and diminished I.Q.s for decades to come.”)