Land Use

Lead-based paint sanding, health concerns to be discussed

This crew is wet sanding lead-based paint from a house, in keeping with city regulations. Photo by Editor B via Flickr

It seems everyone with a child in this city has had a wake-up call regarding lead levels.

You take your kid for a check-up, they do a lead test and – boom –  your world is turned upside down while you try to determine what’s causing the dangerously high  numbers.

The city requirements for lead-paint removal will be discussed Monday at the Housing and Human Needs Committee of the City Council. The meeting is set for 10 a.m. in City Council Chambers, and the remarks will be led by the Department of Safety and Permits. See the agenda here.

Because I often write about housing issues, people send me e-mails and text messages regarding the latest house-sanding violation, which they fear has caused a spike in their own children.

New Orleans resident and writer Thomas Beller is one of those parents, and in an essay on he writes about his own experience with elevated lead levels.

“Oh, how I wish that every child with elevated lead levels started bleeding out of his or her eyes!” he laments. Instead, he writes, lead poisoning is a silent killer, and he later details his fears.

“But the lead is invisible. And the effects of the poison are invisible, usually for years.  The brightest, healthiest tot will keep on being bright and healthy and happy for days, months, and maybe years. And then one day he or she will start to change.”

In November  2011 The Times Picayune published an article suggesting that, according to a study done by the Tulane School of Public Health, two-thirds of the homes and yards in New Orleans have issues with lead.

Lax enforcement and loopholes in the law were cited as reasons for the elevated lead levels as well as extensive renovations and demolitions post Katrina.





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