Full of Lead: Experts Say There’s a Direct Connection Between Le...

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Full of Lead
Experts Say Thereʼs a Direct Connection Between Lead Poisoning and Violent Crime, But Will Public Policy Ever Catch Up With the Research?
By Stephen Janis | Posted 3/9/2005
On Feb. 2, in the back of a dark bus transporting 34 prisoners from Hagerstown to Baltimore, 20-year-old Phillip Eugene Parker was murdered. Serving four years for unarmed robbery, Parker was strangled sometime between 3 and 4 a.m., with prison guards sitting less than 10 feet away.

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The primary suspect is a fellow inmate who was sitting directly behind Parker: Kevin G. Johns Jr. Johns, 22, was serving a 35-year term for the grisly murder of his uncle
PHOTOGRAPHS BY FRANK KLEIN

Robert Lee Percell in February 2002 and had recently been charged with strangling 16-year old Armad Cloude, a fellow inmate at the maximum-security Maryland Corrections Training Center in Hagerstown. During a pretrial hearing hours before Parker’s murder, Washington County Deputy State’s Attorney Joseph Michael informed the judge that Johns had said he “would do it again,” and asked the court rhetorically, “Who’s next?” The answer, if state investigators are right, turned out to be Parker, and Johns’ crimes can be added to an ongoing wave of violence that finds Baltimore with 48 murders so far this year. (A grand jury has indicted Johns for Parker’s murder.) A small reference in a Feb. 13 Sun article about Parker’s death provides what may be one clue as to why crimes like Johns’ continue to plague this city: Grouped in a litany of mental maladies attributed to Johns, the article stated that he suffers from lead poisoning. While it may seem like an inconsequential fact, a side effect of living in a city filled with houses marred by lead paint, scientists, child advocates, and even politicians are publicly arguing that there is a link between lead poisoning and violence. Lead affects a variety of vital organs, including the brain. The brain damage resulting from lead is permanent and can be extensive: the loss of IQ, serotonin production, and other neural motor functions, causing impulsivity and anti-social behavior—in short, some key factors that might tip someone toward a life of violence. A study published in the April 2003 New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Bruce Lanphear and his colleagues found that blood-lead levels as low 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood can cause substantial loss of IQ.

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ACORN's Derrick Jessup performing a lead test in a Baltimore apartment.

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have an effect on long-term behavior. Editorial News+Features Murder Ink Columns Comics The Arts Arts Visual Arts Stage Books+Publishing Events Search Calendar Events Enter Calendar Event Art Benefit Business Comedy Community Action Dance and Dancing Film Gay and Lesbian Kids Music Notices Seniors Special events Sports and Recreation Stage Talks Plus Words Best of Baltimore Best of Baltimore Home Classified Classified Home Place Ad Jobs Services Stuff For Sale Massage Dating Adult City Paper Stuff Win Free Stuff Citypaper Events Party Pics Special Issues Eat Special Issue Big Books Issue Film Fest Frenzy Sizzlin Summer Big Music Issue Comics Contest Fiction and Poetry Contest Holiday Guide Top Ten Blogs Arts and Minds Feedbag Noise The News Hole X-Content Film Film+Video Movie Times Social Media Event and Issue Newsletters Facebook Twitter Flickr Youtube Music Music Local Music Music Events Big Music Issue Real Estate Real Estate For Rent Rent Guide Place Ad Online Features Crossword Maps Article Archives Search Articles Search Authors Search Issues Latest Comments Whose Responible? Eats + Drinks Restaurant Reviews Find a Restaurant Eat Special Issue Find a Club Automotive Cars. 160 had at least 20 micrograms per deciliter. according to the latest statistics issued by the Maryland Department of the Environment: In Baltimore City in 2003.166 children of 51. titled Childhood Lead Poisoning in Baltimore: A Generation Imperiled as Laws Ignored.000 unsafe and unfit homes throughout the city. According to a 2002 report on the state of city’s housing stock commissioned by the Abell Foundation. Mayor Martin O’Malley publicly acknowledged 2 of 8 1/3/13 2:42 PM . just five days after Parker’s murder. the seeds of future crime and social ills have already been cast in more than 100. MD 21201 (410) 523-2300 CONTACT CP | ADVERTISE | NATIONAL ADVERTISING | ABOUT US | WORK HERE | STAFF DIRECTORY All parts of this site Copyright ©2011 Baltimore City Paper. at least 114. At a Feb. such as peeling or chipping lead-based paint. http://www2. Baltimore.000 housing units in 11 targeted Baltimore ZIP codes pose a moderate to high risk for containing lead hazards. Trucks+More Services As lead paint has been outlawed for use in homes since 1978 and the medical effects of lead poisoning are so well known. 1. 7 press conference..Full of Lead: Experts Say There’s a Direct Connection Between Le. the problem should be on its way to being solved.citypaper.” there are likely thousands more who were not tested that are positive for lead as well. Given that only 35.asp?id=9738 More featured business in Baltimore Browse the Local Business Directory Baltimore City Paper 812 Park Ave. the level at which children are considered lead-poisoned by the state. Which means that if lead poisoning does Ndya Johnson naps next to a windowsill that tested positive for major lead poisoning.2 percent of children from 0-72 months of age were tested in Baltimore.892 children tested by the state had levels of lead in their blood of more than 10 micrograms per deciliter. ACORN members mingle after a hearing on lead in Annapolis.com/news/story. which is considered an “elevated” level. Far from it. though.. according to the 2003 Maryland Department of the Environment annual report “Childhood Blood Lead Level Surveillance in Maryland.

” adding that “there is no doubt that lead affects important functions of controlling impulses. Robert Ehrlich calls for the elimination of lead poisoning by 2010. can cause irreparable damage to the prefrontal lobe. concluded that lead-exposure rates of children nationwide between 1941 and 1986 correlated precisely with national fluctuations in violent crime rates. while increasing impulsivity and aggression. while African-American children make up the majority of those being poisoned (according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. the heart. Herbert Needleman. Lead is a naturally occurring element detrimental to the health of any living thing. the landlords who own and illegally rent out lead-laden housing are predominantly white. conducted in 1979. lead can have devastating long-term mental-health effects.asp?id=9738 the problem. Even mildly elevated blood-lead levels. The study. juvenile justice system in 1998. Comparing the data to the homicide rates for the same counties.citypaper. legislation was introduced in the Baltimore City Council in 2004 and in the legislature in Annapolis this year that. Even as Gov. Maryland doesn’t consider a child poisoned until he or she has at least 20 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood. Stretesky and Lynch found that the counties with the highest rate of lead-air pollution had four times as many homicides than the counties with the lowest. “There was a significant difference in the lead levels with children who had attention or behavioral problems. a pediatrician and child psychiatrist at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. the results supported “recent findings that there is an association between lead exposure and violent behavior. money. What he discovered opened the door for further study.. race. liability. and the brain. scientists Paul Stretesky and Michael Lynch used federal Environmental Protection Agency data from 1990 that measured lead levels in the air in 3. Particularly for children between the ages of 1 and 6. and communication skills.. Nevin’s study showed that blood-lead levels in children could almost predict what the violent crime rate would be two decades later.” Needleman recalls. and to a certain extent. maybe it’s time to question what role lead poisoning might play. when the brain is in its most aggressive stage of development. Pa. While Stretesky and Lynch concluded that their study could not make a direct causal link between lead and violence (counties containing or near large cities are more likely to have more lead-air pollution and more homicides anyway). scientists argue. especially the kidneys. he tested bone-lead levels of 194 children in the Allegheny County. and perhaps negligently. saying that “there is an established correlation between violent crime and lead poisoning. was one of the first scientists to study how lead poisoning leads to anti-social behavior.. In Baltimore. damaged and those who may face lead poisoning in the future—rests on the answers.” Needleman’s work has been supported by broader studies that paint an even grimmer picture. Compared to a control group of 146 students living in the same county with no criminal record. published in 2000 in the scientific journal Environmental Research.” he says. The fate of generations of Baltimoreans—both those already irreparably. an African-American child is five times more likely to be poisoned by lead than a Caucasian child). long-range thinking. studied the correlation between lead exposure and violent crime as well. Deborah Denno. a law professor at Fordham University School of Law. Needleman says. http://www2. but some studies contend that lead levels as low as 5 micrograms per deciliter can be harmful.111 counties across the United States. a key predictor in both propensity for crime and even mortality. As officials and citizens alike look for solutions to the violence that continues to help define the social landscape of Baltimore. In 2001. the part of the brain that controls impulsivity. More importantly. “The mothers of poisoned children would complain that their children were more aggressive and difficult to control. Nevin’s study. decreasing a child’s potential IQ.Full of Lead: Experts Say There’s a Direct Connection Between Le. threatening one of the few legal incentives for landlords to comply with law. in part. was a logical outgrowth of treating children with elevated blood-lead levels and listening to their parents complain about their behavioral problems. “I was curious why this was happening.com/news/story. Delving further into the correlation between lead and anti-social behavior.” Needleman’s first study. The basic concept that connects lead poisoning to behavior problems is something called “neurotoxicity”—the point at which lead interferes with the growth of the prefrontal lobe. including robbery and aggravated assault.” The press conference had been called to protest a cut in state funding for Baltimore City’s lead-enforcement program. did what has been called the first 3 of 8 1/3/13 2:42 PM .” Rick Nevin. maybe it’s time to question whether we have the political will to untangle the complex issues of legality and liability that allow such a well-understood health risk to remain a problem. Dr. measured the lead levels in the baby teeth of children with behavioral problems in the classroom and compared those to blood-lead levels of children with no history of such problems. Not that Maryland’s existing lead laws are particularly harsh to begin with—Baltimore-based lead-litigation attorney Saul Kerpelman characterizes them as among the most “lax” in the nation. Once it enters the human bloodstream—usually through ingestion of chips or dust from old house paint (manufacturers once used the metal as an additive to improve paint’s durability)—it retards almost every functioning organ in the body. and I believe this relates to crime. the liver. when those children were adults. the convicted youths had lead levels 10 to 11 times higher than their nonoffending counterparts. an economic consultant hired by the federal Department of Housing and Urban Development to study the cost of removing lead paint from public housing. Needleman calls his results “startling. The problem of lead poisoning is caught in the murky crosscurrents of politics and landlord-tenant relations. eases property owners’ liability for poisoning children.

“In kindergarten. led her to conclude that at the very least “lead predisposes people to act in an impulsive and anti-social way. she has seen it in her 20-year-old son. Mary thinks lead poisoning played a role in his crime.” Mary says. and they confirmed the methodology was correct. and he was transferred from school to school. Mary moved her family out of the apartment.” How research correlating lead poisoning to impulsivity. Chelation therapy is an expensive and painful procedure that consists of twice-daily deep-muscle injections that continue for weeks.” In fact. and criminality applies to Baltimore is simply a matter of connecting the risk factors to reality—or in this case. “He is a sweet child.Full of Lead: Experts Say There’s a Direct Connection Between Le. homicide. but the effect of lead poisoning became immediately obvious. Taking care of him became a full-time chore. “I didn’t know at the time they were poisoned. 114.. Evan didn’t have to be hospitalized. http://www2. “but they can’t find money to keep our children from being poisoned. “So I passed it around to what I believed to be experts. Ellen Silbergeld. She says her 16-year-old nephew Curtis was poisoned when he was 2 years old.000 variables to discover what correlated with incarceration and criminality. too. Evan. she says. Although the case is not closed. Mary says. Denno weighed more than 3. well above the poisoning threshold. She says the judge in her son’s case failed to take into account her son’s mental handicap.citypaper. places to lock us all up. who won a MacArthur Foundation “genius” grant in 1993 for her work on lead toxicology. “By first grade I had to go to school almost every day. Mary remembers the day her son revealed that he liked a new girlfriend because. he told his mother. says of Nevin’s Environmental Research piece. sitting in her East Baltimore kitchen. in 1991. her eyes narrowed and angry. nobody told me. but the damage had already been done. forcing her to drop out of Baltimore City Community College. she says that “it is a plausible hypothesis.” she says. Irene took care of the children after her sister died of breast cancer. But a routine visit to the children’s pediatrician in 1986 changed that. Mary says that he ended up in court at one point for assaulting a teacher at school. According to the 2002 Abell Foundation study of city housing stock.. or even months (Mary recalls that it required “all sorts of needles”).” she says. another Baltimore mother. Denno says. I had to go pick him up all the time because he wouldn’t sit still. “He couldn’t be with anyone but me. Both children.” Silbergeld. which removes some lead from the bloodstream by injecting drugs that bind with the lead and reduce its acute toxicity.” Mary relates her family’s troubles with dry eyes until she gets to the part about the shooting that landed her son in the Maryland State Penitentiary for 50 years. previous disciplinary problems. Andrea had to be hospitalized and given chelation therapy. says there is strong evidence linking lead poisoning to violence. The story she relates is eerily similar to that of Evan. Evan was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison with all but 50 years suspended. he wouldn’t listen. Irene recalls that Curtis had “learning problems.000 housing units still in use in Baltimore were built before 1950 and are thus likely to be “high risk” for lead paint and possible sources of lead poisoning.” she recalls.com/news/story. The results. relates back to lead.” She had Curtis evaluated and learned that his 4 of 8 1/3/13 2:42 PM .” Irene. “He couldn’t ride the bus—I had to ride in a cab with him to school every day.” Mary (who asked that her family’s last name not be used) says she has seen the insidious effects of every stage of lead poisoning. One of the other two strongest predictors of juvenile crime.” she says. even spening time in the Sheppard Pratt Health System.” Evan’s problems persisted. Denno’s results cited elevated blood-lead levels as the strongest predictor of disciplinary problems in schoolkids and the third-strongest predictor of juvenile crime.” she says. despite numerous motions from his defense attorney. “They can find money to build prisons.asp?id=9738 longitudinal study—that is. She tells City Paper that lead kept “popping up. In particular. The effects of his mental impairment took a toll on Evan’s self-esteem as well. realty. “until he was poisoned.” The problems started in 1984 when she moved newborn Evan and his sister Andrea into an apartment in Southwest Baltimore. it turns out. while living in an apartment on Division Street. Using data from a government study that followed 487 boys in Philadelphia from age 0 to age 22. an environmental scientist at Johns Hopkins University and a leading authority on toxicology and lead poisoning. “I didn’t know anything about lead.” Mary recalls. she was “‘like me’—meaning slow.” Neuropsychological testing done when Evan was 3 revealed severe brain damage that had not existed before he was exposed to lead.” “I was astounded by the article. following a group of individuals over an extended period of time—to determine the most accurate predictors for anti-social behavior. also watched an ostensibly normal child succumb to behavioral problems after being poisoned by lead. and has life-threatening side effects. had blood-lead levels in excess of 40 micrograms per deciliter. In 2004. and never had any problems. published in her 1990 book Biology and Violence. “I got a letter saying they both had high lead levels in their blood. violence.

” the gathering was advertised to the health-advocacy community as a means to promote coordination between nonprofits. who ran unsuccessfully for City Council in the 9th District in 2003. didn’t mollify Klein. “The kids can’t focus long enough to remember. the children were unable to keep still. and nephew Deontaye. “return Baltimore City lead laws to the Dark Ages. without understanding the problem. where they learn how to cope with the learning disabilities and behavioral problems associated with lead poisoning. prevents landlords from evicting a tenant without registering the property with the Maryland Department of Environment and providing a risk-reduction certification number—basically a document that states the unit is compliant with state lead laws. he would act out before thinking. “We covered that at the last meeting. meeting at the Canton offices of the Baltimore City Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (CECLP) seemed straightforward enough. you can’t tell them to wash the dishes. patently refused to discuss the bill at the meeting. and the failure of city agencies to follow up on several landlords he had reported for lead violations. “This bill is a nonstarter. Foy says she spends lots of time at school dealing with the kids’ teachers. and governmental agencies.com/news/story. . and I’m living with it every day. above 40 micrograms per deciliter. they couldn’t focus. such as the city Health Department and the Maryland Department of the Environment. Doctors prescribed medication for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder that Irene says “worked for a while.. Klein characterized the City Council bill as being “like a favor to a bunch of slumlords that donate to the mayor. which means these landlords are committing perjury on a massive scale. he is much more aggressive than he was before he was poisoned. Yet Klein contended “only three of the properties we investigated were registered.” Foy says. The opening salvo came from ACORN head organizer Mitch Klein. Without medication. http://www2.. like Evan’s. She takes her niece and nephew to see doctors at Kennedy Krieger Institute. assistant attorney general for the Maryland Department of the Environment. But a few minutes into her opening remarks at CECLP’s spacious offices.asp?id=9738 blood-lead levels were.” The bill would negate a November 2003 decision by the Maryland Court of Appeals that said that the city housing code must require landlords to take reasonable steps—such as conducting periodic inspections—to ensure that their properties remain free of lead hazards while occupied by tenants.” The purpose of the Oct.” Norton moved through the agenda until Lisa J.” (The bill never made it out of committee for a vote. has custody of her niece Tierra. enacted during the General Assembly session of 2003. noting that it was not likely to pass anyway. passed around a handout on Baltimore City Council bill 04-1276. . Obviously some were not in compliance. But lead poisoning complicates almost every aspect of the children’s lives. The bill in question proposed an amendment to the city housing code that would.” he said to both Kim and Norton.” Norton acknowledged that the certification system has flaws—many of the inspections are done by private companies.citypaper. as Smith described it in a memo she circulated through the room. You have to tell them to do one. She says she has been dealing with behavioral problems that started when the children were toddlers.” she says. Irene recalls. and will continue to do so as they grow into teenagers.” and a few stays in the state juvenile detention system for car theft and assault. The decision made it clear that landlords in the city could not wait for tenants to complain about potential lead problems—that things like chipping and flaking lead paint is a landlord’s responsibility and that. Curtis is now hospitalized at Spring Grove. a state mental-health hospital in Catonsville. Smith. who are supposed to provide lead-free housing for tenants. then another. Maryland Law 1245. landlords could be held liable for not attending to them. “The thing you have to understand. “My nephew is irritable. “After they were poisoned. Lead poisoning has hurt a lot of kids in our community. He’s getting what Irene describes as “better treatment. “We really need to know. like the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN).” Foy says.” Norton.” Norton said bluntly.) 5 of 8 1/3/13 2:42 PM .” Wendy Foy of Baltimore also has a story about lead poisoning that echoes those of Mary and Irene. has since educated herself about the lead-poisoning problem. 11.” she said. and hers. “whose side you’re both on—the landlords or the children.” Foy. executive director Ruth Ann Norton found herself in the midst of heated questioning and acrimonious debate. But assurances from Norton and Jean Y. “We are not negotiating with anyone on this. then put them away.” After several run-ins with the law for what Irene describes as “petty crimes. Foy. “We just want to know where your organization stands on this. 44. I’m not going to give it fuel. . with or without notice from a tenant about such problems. 10.” Smith replied. the executive director of the city’s largest and most prominent lead-poisoning advocacy group. poisoned at their former home on the 1100 block of North Carlton Street in West Baltimore. “he was very aggressive. who was piqued by the lack of compliance on the part of landlords. not the state—but she contended that the system is mostly effective. He gets his medication regularly now and is doing much better. “A lot of teachers think the kid is just bad. 20. Billed as a quarterly “prevention partnership. 2004.” until he became immune. Kim. a local attorney who represents lead-poisoned children.Full of Lead: Experts Say There’s a Direct Connection Between Le. The ultimate goal was to assess the progress of eliminating lead contamination from Baltimore’s aging housing stock.

The number of children tested annually has dropped from a peak of close to 58.” But ACORN takes issue with the state’s assurance that the registered lead-free properties are indeed safe.. The group’s Environmental Justice Project sent neighborhood canvassers out to 272 rental units in the city and tested them for lead last year. according to the organization’s web site. press conference on lead. “We all agree. the first in a series of mailings targeting noncompliant property owners.2 percent of children aged 0-72 months living in Baltimore City were tested in 2003. The city is potentially liable.000 letters to property owners. “Registered properties means no new lead poisoning.” When asked about Norton’s assertions.2 percent tested in 2003. But as of this year. it’s not when one considers that the biggest landlord in Baltimore is. Peter Beilenson. reminding them that they must register their properties with the state to prove that they have been certified as lead-free.citypaper. Klein says “lead is the first thing on the agenda. In reviewing the raw data used to compile these statistics and understanding the science behind lead poisoning.” Although all aspects of keeping homes safe from toxic chemicals will be considered. tentatively named the Baltimore Healthy Homes Alliance. and backed it up with a kiss before underscoring Sissman’s point). Mark Sissman.000 of its budget for lead enforcement. The law that requires properties to be certified and registered with the Maryland Department of the Environment required all pre-1950 properties be registered by Dec. The new organization.” But she acknowledges that “the mayor really wants this bill. http://www2. He wielded numbers provided by the Maryland Department of the Environment showing what seems like a positive trend: The number of children with lead poisoning is down some 92 percent since 1994. concluding that “the good news is that statistics show that registered properties have zero problems with lead poisoning. “as a way to bring scientists and environmentalists and tenant organizations together” to solve what he characterizes as “urban environmental problems. It began with the chairman of the board of CECLP. Norton offered her first one-word answer of the evening: “Yes.. the city of Baltimore. 1995.” Sissman’s statement was echoed by the governor (who professed that he “loved” Ruth Ann Norton. They found that nearly 24 percent of the apartments they tested that were registered and certified as “lead safe” by the state had elevated lead readings in at least one part of the house. that amounts to losing one attorney and five inspectors.000 public-housing units under its control.” Ehrlich said. 6 of 8 1/3/13 2:42 PM .com/news/story. In the 2006 proposed state budget.Full of Lead: Experts Say There’s a Direct Connection Between Le. Local lead-litigation attorney Saul Kerpelman. Norton says she was “not aware” of the lobbying firm’s connection to the paint industry.000 properties are newly registered.asp?id=9738 Though it may seem baffling that the city would even consider such a bill. nearly a decade ago. In an interview after the meeting. says he’s seen evidence that supports ACORN’s claim. Robert Ehrlich’s Nov. “Registered properties turn up in our cases all the time. In 2001 the firm. Ehrlich announced new legislation for lowering the incidence of lead exposure at a press conference in Annapolis. Norton reiterated her previously stated position—reluctant to say unequivocally that she was against the bill.” Sissman said. The Maryland Blood Lead Level Surveillance reports prepared by the Maryland Department of the Environment reveal that only 35. the city is liable for keeping them compliant with lead laws. Thus some members of the lead-poisoning advocacy community believe the CECLP’s public equivocation on bill 04-1276 is indicative of the organization’s conflicting prerogatives: The organization must reach out to landlords and help affected families.” the coalition recently retained the firm of Schwartz and Metz to lobby the General Assembly for the governor’s recently introduced lead law. We need a new voice on this issue. “I’m trying to tell everyone we’re all on the same page. comparatively. 23. Some of the CECLP’s problems are considered so acute by its critics in the lead-poisoning advocacy community that a new coalition is being formed. With more than 14. in fact. 2004. 18. it becomes clear that the plummeting drop in lead poisoning may not be at all accurate. says Mitch Klein. But the numbers may be misleading. promising to “eliminate all lead poising by the year 2010. and as the biggest landlord in Baltimore. being tested.” she says of the lead-poisoning advocacy community.8 percent in 1995 to the 35. O’Malley spokeswoman Raquel Guillory says she is “unaware” of any pressure directed at CECLP. So the reported 92 percent reduction in lead poisoning may be attributed to the fact that there are so few children. represented the National Paint and Coating Association. and registering a property doesn’t really mean anything.” The view of pre-1950s rowhouses from the Coalition to End Childhood Lead Poisoning’s Canton offices were the perfect backdrop for Gov. which boasts a client list including Exxon and Mettiki Coal.” Asked whether O’Malley had pressured her on the bill. 31. According to city Health Commissioner Dr.” he says. these 50. And enforcing lead-law compliance is not cheap. is being brought together. On Jan. there is a lot at stake. but they’re not listening. meaning that some 64 percent were not. touting the success of a mailing program in which the Maryland Department of the Environment sent 50. the city may lose $375. a trade association for paint companies. While Beilenson characterizes the conflict between the CECLP and other advocates as a “clash of the lead titans.000 properties were still not registered. “Over 17.

a Maryland Department of the Environment-certified lead tester who works for ACORN. and by extension the implication of lead poisoning as a civil-rights issue. A substantial proportion of those children are probably lead-poisoned.citypaper.” A group gathered at ACORN’s 25th Street offices for a tenants’ rights meeting puts a human face on the lead epidemic in the city.” Dr. many are vulnerable and don’t have the resources to fight their landlords to provide better living environments for their families. Overlay the dark red areas on top of a 2000 U. which removes lead paint from all surfaces in the home.” Feature archives More Stories DPW Reports a Sewage Leak Near the Jail (3/26/2010) Collapse Update (2/25/2010) collapse count from snows. Where’s [the landlord] going to be when he’s out on the corner and [the police] come to your door? Where are they going put him then?” As if participating in a church service. as if to wring some sense out of a situation her mind cannot totally accept. lives in a Southeast Baltimore rowhouse. seem too difficult to grasp. They are the ones who have watched their children succumb to lead. referring to the process of full lead abatement. The meeting’s attendees are predominantly African-American. sisters. and caretakers. and unsafe is 50. which outlines the highest-risk areas for lead poisoning in Baltimore based on existing housing stock and blood-surveillance reports. Even more damning is the Maryland Department of Environment high-risk lead map. the vagaries of politics and law.” William answers. When asked why he thinks so little real progress is made in combating the lead-poisoning problem. “When I first found out my child was poisoned. And unfortunately. “Lead is certainly a civil-rights issue. housing Bloodletting (1/23/2008) Can Anything Be Done to Bring Baltimore's Homicide Rate Down? More from Stephen Janis 7 of 8 1/3/13 2:42 PM . “And it all starts with lead in the house. it’s a black problem. someone was supposed to burn the paint out of my home. Mary is certain that if she had not had so many problems finding an affordable place to live that was not contaminated with lead her son would not have had a mental handicap or be spending 50 years in prison. Mary says. . heads in the room nod with understanding. tested her house recently. not just for parents like Mary. without hesitation he says. No child should be handicapped because of a house.. moving her family to Flag House Courts.” She finally relocated.” and in an interview he expounds on that thought. But for many residents of the city. “Once they have lead.” Needleman may be right. Kerpelman says that 99 percent of his clients are African-American. “We had a level of 900 in the kitchen. . and the results were not good. and she stares blankly at the dark TV screen in her East Baltimore apartment. Census map and it’s clear that neighborhoods with the worst lead problems are predominantly African-American. But soon after she moved in she had to move again. so I’m taking my children to the doctor to be tested. He noted at a Feb. http://www2. “Lead poisoning is a contributing factor for all the major ills in the city. the risks associated with lead are very tangible. “until he started crawling around on the floor.” “That’s right. aunts. For many. She runs her hand over her brow.” The legacy of lead poisoning is far reaching and has dire consequences. 29. When ACORN organizer Shera Williams talks about her son. which she shares with her husband and three children. “My son wasn’t slow.asp?id=9738 “I’ve always been puzzled by how much we know and how little we’ve done. a city-owned housing project near Little Italy. Derrick Jessup. “[In Baltimore] we have 15 to 18 percent of our children in special education. Nicole Johnson.” Mary says. and almost all are female —mothers. like Mary. . the entire group responds together: “In jail. it’s all interconnected. “there was still lead dust in the house. “Number 1. “It’s just sad.. it’s with them for the rest of their lives.” Williams says. but for the city as well.” she says.” Kerpelman says. Herbert Needleman says. 2 press conference that there is “an indisputable correlation between lead and criminal-justice problems.” he says.com/news/story. But the work wasn’t done correctly and. Where’s the landlord going to be in 16 years when the teacher calls your child slow and he can’t get job.Full of Lead: Experts Say There’s a Direct Connection Between Le. like Mary and other young mothers struggling to find decent housing for their children.” Johnson says. says Health Commissioner Beilenson. just so sad. Mary is in the process of appealing her son’s murder conviction.S.

citypaper.. ★ 0 Discussion Community Share # r Comment feed m Subscribe via email 8 of 8 1/3/13 2:42 PM . Joshua Sharfstein (2/8/2006) 0 comments Comments for this thread are now closed.Full of Lead: Experts Say There’s a Direct Connection Between Le.com/news/story. http://www2..asp?id=9738 Lead-ing the Charge (3/1/2006) Some Say City Should Renew Effort to Sue Lead-Paint Manufacturers in Wake of Recent Court Victory Councilmania (2/15/2006) Keeping tabs on the City Council's activities so you don't have to Dr.