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February 17, 2000 - Image 18

Resource type:
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Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 2000-02-17

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Lead Poisoning

When lead poisonig afects one iniial, it affects an entire family. Can McDowell and his brother
Phillp, who have lived with lead poisoning for much of their lives, look after their younger cousin.

Josh Fish, a young boy living with lead poisonng in Detroit has a blood sample taken to test his blood lead leve. Chidna e
lead poisoning is a widespread problem.

Photo story
by
Sam Hollenshead

Jeremia Fish suffers from lead poisoning. Classified as an environmental justice
Issue, it disproportionately impacts low income and minority communities.

Throughout much of the United States, families in urban areas are haunted by the dam-
aging effects of lead poisoning. To adults, lead poisoning has fairly minor effects, but to chil-
dren, lead poisoning can be life threatening and life altering. Children with elevated blood
lead levels often experience some degree of brain damage. This damage is permanent and can
affect how poisoned children will later perform in school and other tasks in life. One long-
term medical study conducted by Herbert Needleman, an expert in the area of lead poisoning,
found that lead poisoned children are five times more likely to drop out of high school than
children living without lead poisoning.
Besides the mental damage done to individuals by lead poisoning, it also damages
entire communities primarily low-income and minority. While the U.S. government has pro-
grams and money allocated to deal with the problem, large, bureaucratic systems are often
ineffective and corrupt. Families at the bottom of these suffer under the weight of such sys-
tems.
For more information about lead poisoning see: http://www.epa.gov

Joyce McDowell, a mother in Detroit, must deal everyday with the stress of lead in her home. Because epllepsy prevents
ber from workine. she cannot afford to remove the lead ooisons her famiiv

The most common way that children become lead poisoned I
that have been In contact with lead or contain lead.

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