Researchers for the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) have published a study regarding “blood lead concentrations that were associated with increased risk of behavioral and emotional problems, such as being anxious, depressed, or aggressive.”
Funding for this study was provided by the NIEHS.
Kimberly Gray, health scientist administrator for the NIEHS, said:
“The research focused on lower blood lead levels than most other studies and adds more evidence that there is no safe lead level and it is important to continue to study lead exposure in children around the world, and to fully understand short-term and long-term behavioral changes across developmental milestones. It is well-documented that lead exposure lowers the IQ of children.”
Gray maintains that this study “adds more evidence that there is no safe lead level, [and it is] important to continue to study lead exposure in children around the world, and to fully understand short-term and long-term behavioral changes across developmental milestones.”
Jianghong Liu, lead author of the study, explained that “young children are particularly vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead, because lead can affect children’s developing nerves and brains.”
More than 1,300 Chinese preschool aged children, between 3 -5 years old, participated in the study by donating their blood for lead analysis.
Parent filled out questionnaires to gage their children’s emotional and possible behavioral problems.
The children participants were shown to have higher levels of lead in their blood which translated to “internalizing behavioral problems, such as anxiety and depression.”
According to the study, it was shown that in China, “blood lead concentrations increased with age in preschool children” due to exposure from “paint, caulking, pipe solder and air pollution.”
The average lead levels detected in the participant’s blood was 6.5 mcg per deciliter. In the US, abandoned lead factories in the Northeastern part of the country pose a threat to children and adults living near old coal plants, soap mills, power plants, chemical factories and countless textile mills.
In Cleveland, Ohio, there are abandoned lead factories that once were responsible for heavily contaminating the areas around them with toxic lead dust. In the 30 or more years since these factories were operational, communities have been built up; homes where children live and play.
State regulators, along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) failed to divulge this information to those families who live in these areas. Soil tests throughout these neighborhoods reveal high levels of lead contamination.
The results of an investigation in 2012, uncovered that the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA0 left thousands of families in the dark about the dangers they lived in.
Four hundred smelter factories were listed by researchers. This list was given to the EPA in 2001.
- The EPA ignored data in states like Minnesota, Indiana, and Washington State; claiming they had not found evidence of contamination;
- The EPA sent investigators to Pennsylvania, Maryland and Wisconsin in 2004 – 2006, but did not test the soil for lead contamination;
- Federal and state regulators found high lead content in soil samples in Philadelphia, Cleveland, Chicago and Portland Oregon, but did not act to clean up the areas; which resulted in health issues according to medical records;
Mathy Stanislaus, an EPA assistant administrator made this statement:
“EPA and our state and local partners have overseen thousands of cleanups, through a variety of programs. Unfortunately, some of the sites identified have not yet been addressed or investigated by EPA. EPA will review the information to determine what steps can be taken to ensure Americans are not being exposed to dangerous levels of lead.”
Elizabeth Southerland, director of assessment and remediation for the EPA Superfund Program, stated:
“I am convinced we have addressed the highest-risk sites. Absolutely and positively, we are open to reassessing sites that we now feel, based on your information, need another look.”
William Eckel, environmental scientist, published an article in the American Journal of Public Health warning of this issue and admonishing state and federal regulatory bodies that have ignored the problem to the public’s detriment.
Eckel found over 400 abandoned smelter factories that were potential threats and virtually unknown to the EPA. Most of these areas are now playgrounds for children in densely populated areas.
Eckel’s article warned that the findings “should create some sense of urgency for the investigation of the other sites identified here because they may represent a significant source of exposure to lead in their local environments.”
The EPA caught wind of Eckel’s paper and asked him to send them a copy. Apparently their researchers are not as through as Eckel.
Bureaucratic excuses about lack of funding have surfaced by Southerland for the reason these sites were not taken care of previously. However, the evidence points to the EPA just not caring enough to check into sites and mandate the cleanups take place.
The EPA claimed that “particularly large cities… with historically high gasoline emissions from vehicles, aero deposition from industrial facilities and lead paint” are the combinations that led to the overall contamination. Cleanups are projected to be difficult.
In 2002 – 2003, the Ohio EPA tested 12 soil samples. All but one revealed unacceptable levels of lead toxicity. These samples were taken from neighborhoods where children play. The levels were as high as 5 times the acceptable limits.
The Ohio EPA stated that without a specific “polluter” to blame, they could not afford to clean up the site because it is the polluter that pays for the cleanup.
The Ohio EPA stated:
“There are no Ohio EPA monies set aside and dedicated for this type of cleanup. Our enforcement program focuses on responsible parties with the authority to legally compel them to fund cleanup.”
Meanwhile children are exposed to lead poisoning in their own backyards and no state or federal official cares enough to clean up the contamination for the sake of these children.
By Susanne Posel, Occupy Corporatism;