Pittsburgh Post-Gazette – It’s great news that the levels of lead in Pittsburgh’s drinking water have declined to the lowest point in 20 years, as reported in the July 23 article “PWSA: Lead Levels Greatly Reduced in City’s Water.”
However, we should not rest on our laurels that our lead problems are over.
Here in Pittsburgh, the leading source of lead poisoning in our children is dust from lead-based paint, according to Allegheny County Health Department inspections. This is not surprising, as more than 80% of Pittsburgh homes were built before 1978, when lead-based paint was common and subsequently banned. In every corner of our city, cracked or chipped paint, renovations, demolitions and more are causing lead poisoning.
Why is this so important? There is no safe level of exposure to lead. None. Lead poisoning causes permanent cognitive and behavior damage — especially in young children whose brains are still developing — including reduced IQ, behavioral problems, slowed physical development, hearing loss and more.
Since there are no effective treatments for lead poisoning, the only solution is preventing exposure to lead in the first place. Which is why a safer water supply is a great start. The next steps are eliminating other lead exposures by ensuring lead-safe housing, by requiring lead-safe renovation practices and by performing lead-safe demolitions in our communities, for starters.
Get the Lead Out, Pittsburgh is a public awareness campaign advocating for change, helping families affected by lead poisoning and informing our community, including upcoming information sessions for city residents. Join us at gettheleadoutpgh.org.