A new report from Reuters reveals that residents of the Fruitvale neighborhood in Oakland, CA are being exposed to far more dangerous levels of lead than residents of Flint, Michigan. However, in this case, the drinking water isn’t the reason for the contamination – it’s the lead-based paint still in use in many of the buildings there. When it chips or crumbles, the lead ends up being released into the air and the dirt nearby.
Out of 500 children tested within the area, 7.57% had elevated levels of lead in their blood – far higher than the nationwide average of 2.5%. At the height of the Flint water crisis, only 5% of children within the city had elevated lead levels in their blood, meaning Oakland’s problem is actually worse.
Other areas of Oakland didn’t have data available, so it’s impossible to say if other neighborhoods are as badly impacted. Chances are, however, that there’s a lead contamination problem elsewhere in the city – a study in nearby East San Jose turned up equally troubling results, with 3.02% of children testing positive for elevated lead.
The findings come as part of a report published by Reuters just before Christmas. Reporters for the agency found dangerous levels of lead present in almost 3,000 different locales within the country. In fact, more than 1,100 of the affected communities reported lead poisoning rates 4 times higher than those in Flint. Worried about your community? Read the full report and view Reuters’ map of identified lead hotspots here.
Via The Mercury News