Dangerous lead levels in nearly two-thirds of New Orleans homes, report states

A new report states nearly two-thirds of New Orleans homes and yards have “dangerous” levels of lead, which may be linked to the demolition and renovation of homes in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

Lead based paint
The high levels of lead are due to dust from lead-based paint as most of the homes were built before 1946 and lead-based paint was not banned until 1978. The report was published by researchers from the Tulane School of Public Health.

“New Orleans children are at risk for elevated blood lead levels, including children who were not considered at high risk previously and for whom lead reduction has been considered a public health success,” the study stated.

Felicia Rabito led the study and said that efforts to test the lead levels of all New Orleans’ children must be stepped up, either by making such testing mandatory for admittance to New Orleans’ schools, or by pressuring primary care physicians to do such testing.

She went on to say, “We need people in the city to understand the risk of lead poisoning and take ownership,” Rabito said. “If they see someone sanding, they should ask them to stop and inform them of the dangers, and then inform the city.”

If you have a high concentration of lead in the blood it can affect the central nervous system, blood cells and kidneys. The resultant effects can reduce IQ, cause hyperactivity, reduce stature, cause headaches and hearing problems.

However as there may be no obvious symptoms the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend lead in blood screening for children aged 1 to 6.

For more information about New Orleans lead poisoning click the link.

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