"Cleveland's plight is unique because of an unusually high rate of lead poisoning"

Submitted by Norm Roulet on Wed, 08/13/2008 - 08:14.

The results of a study on violence in the Cleveland public schools, commissioned by the Cleveland Municipal School District, has their leadership and the Cleveland Plain Dealer finally focusing on lead poisoning as a cause of failure of our schools and school children. In an article in today's PD, "Cleveland schools struggle with finding and helping potentially violent students, study reports", a researcher from the American Institutes for Research in Washington, D.C., which performed the CMSD study on violence in our schools, is quoted saying "Cleveland's plight is unique because of an unusually high rate of lead poisoning - from paint in aging houses - that can affect behavior and academic performance." CMSD Board Member Louise Dempsey is quoted in the article as saying "I'm very pleased to see a lot of this stuff out in the open," she said. "Let's not kid ourselves, we've got to be honest if we're going to solve the problem." I'm pleased to see this getting CMSD Board-level attention.

The PD goes on to say: "The report notes that the schools must deal with issues that stem from the poverty and chaos that many students find in their neighborhoods." "The study, which cost $337,000, says other community agencies treat the same children, but the district and those agencies don't communicate well."

The 85+ local, regional, state and federal agencies, institutions, foundations and organizations that make up the Greater Cleveland Lead Advisory Council have focused considerable attention and resources working to address the problem... they are the organizations referenced as "other community agencies treat the same children". GCLAC communicates very well, so it is worth analyzing how well CMSD is integrated within our active lead poisoning prevention network.

The 2007 GCLAC Annual Meeting had the subject of "Lead Poisoning and Education, How Lead Poisoning Challenges School Performance", which led to formation of a GCLAC Sub-Committee on Lead Poisoning Prevention and Education. I will inquire into the level of engagement between the GCLAC Education Subcommittee and CMSD leadership - I believe it has become well established.

There is certainty the education system has an important role to play in lead poisoning prevention, and may become more effective educating our children by recognizing the impact of high lead poisoning on a very large percentage of students - perhaps over 50% in some classes - and proactively managing lead poisoned students' progression through their lifelong learning.

I believe our vision must be formed around the realization children harmed by lead - at levels lower than 5 micrograms per deciliter - are different than children not harmed by lead. They will have different learning processes and capabilities, and will behave differently, necessitating individualized case management.

All children born and living in high lead risk neighborhoods and homes (pre-1950) should be tested for lead poisoning each year through age three, and children with lead levels above 10 mg/dl should receive public health assistance to eliminate lead in the child's environment and blood, if very elevated. This is a minimal safety net that does not prevent lead poisoning of the "canaries" identified through testing. Schools and educators could play an important role better educating parents and children about lead poisoning prevention so they and future siblings and generations avoid the harm.

Further, a very high percentage of parents do not have their children adequately tested and none of the testing results are provided to schools or included in student files to be used in analyzing student performance and behavior concerns. That is a good example of how "the district and those agencies don't communicate well."

Every CMSD student at all ages should have a complete lead profile developed for their files, to include all past lead testing results since birth. CMSD should also have an active role making certain all children in the district are tested, from birth, and lead is eliminated from children's environments. CMSD must then leverage the completely new insight gained through awareness of the harm of lead on specific students to craft specific programs and strategies to help those harmed by lead succeed at CMSD.

I hope the recent report to the CMSD on lead poisoning and and violence in the schools accelerates and expands CMSD leadership efforts to become a world-leader addressing the harm of lead poisoning on students and schools.

With a strong foundation in place to address the harm of lead poisoning on students and Education, and report he funded in hand proving it is a problem, it is time for Eugene Sanders to become a leader in the battle to eradicate lead poisoning in Northeast Ohio by 2010, and help those lead poisoned in life succeed in learning. To become engaged with GCLAC, I suggest Dr. Sanders, CMSD school board members and all other concerned community leaders contact Beth Baron, GCLAC Outreach and Advocacy Associate at 216-658-7206 or bbaron at lutheranmetro.org


How much did CMSD shell out for the study Norm?

Cost $300,000... worth $ billions

Not expensive for a real expert non-NEO study that is in-depth and honest enough to bring NEO school and community leadership to the understanding the failure of our children and schools is related to their lead poisoning.

Address that one prpblem and the value of the study is $ billions in reduced lead poisoning costs to society in the future

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Low expectations

Living with it makes me, especially suspicious of the low expectations administrators build into the program. These kids aren't any more addled than you or I (me?*)--Norm. There are some messed up kids, but you will find them in the suburbs and exurbs, too. Yes--lead poisoning is a problem--So, is exposure to all the free radicals in our food, electromagnetic radiation, toxins in our water...the list goes on and on. I don't have all the answers, but we need to focus on the ball game here. Getting all of the kids to the finish line together. *grammar uncertainty--is it lead or led?

When should Sherwin and his cronies have known better?

When one considers America's lead crisis, one realizes it was inflicted upon all the people of this land over a period spanning a century, through the 1970s, by a few industrialists and their political and scientific communities.

So when should intelligent leaders of this nation have known better... imprisoned and ruined the perpetrators of this murderous poisoning of Earth and humanity, like Cleveland's Sherwin. Well, certainly by the 1890s, when the "Leadless Glaze" porcelain tea set shown here was made in London... about when Sherwin was really ramping up his lead-extermination of mankind.

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LEAD and our capacity to fool ourselves

LEAD poisoning led to the fall of the Roman empire...and so it goes Norm.  We fool ourselves every day.  Sherwin Williams surely thought that paint on our walls would not end up in our bloodstream, just as car manufacturers fooled themselves against the dangers of lead in gasoline.

no foolin - they knew

Who's foolin' who?

These guys knew full well the dangers. That is unless they couldn't read.

From this article which I linked up last year about this time.

"§ the severe health hazards of leaded gasoline were known to its makers and clearly identified by the US public health community more than seventy-five years ago, but were steadfastly denied by the makers, because they couldn't be immediately quantified;

§ other, safer antiknock additives--used to increase gasoline octane and counter engine "knock"--were known and available to oil companies and the makers of lead antiknocks before the lead additive was discovered, but they were covered up and denied, then fought, suppressed and unfairly maligned for decades to follow;

§ the US government was fully apprised of leaded gasoline's potentially hazardous effects and was aware of available alternatives, yet was complicit in the cover-up and even actively assisted the profiteers in spreading the use of leaded gasoline to foreign countries;"

and this

"A 1985 EPA study estimated that as many as 5,000 Americans died annually from lead-related heart disease prior to the country's lead phaseout. According to a 1988 report to Congress on childhood lead poisoning in America by the government's Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, one can estimate that the blood-lead levels of up to 2 million children were reduced every year to below toxic levels between 1970 and 1987 as leaded gasoline use was reduced. From that report and elsewhere, one can conservatively estimate that a total of about 68 million young children had toxic exposures to lead from gasoline from 1927 to 1987."

If you haven't read this article from The Nation, do take the time. It will curl your hair and make you better understand (you may already) why we need to have more consumer advocates like Ralph Nader and Norm and GCLAC in our midst.

Keep up the good fight, Norm and GCLAC!

Kids and adults should know what they are up against

Every parent of a lead poisoned kid in the inner city who I've met thinks their kid "outgrows" or recovers from lead poisoning... inner city adults never think about being lead poisoned themseves. Yet inner city families are failing and parents are beating their kids and each other over it - kill each other and others over it. And Sherwin Williams spends $ millions to avoid responsibility and the problem... but they do fund libraries.

Wouldn't it be easier if we were honest with people who are lead poisoned and treat them as lead poisoned people?

Most of the kids in our inner city schools are lead poisoned. They should have regular meetings with case workers who make sure these kids have special nutrician and help them avoid being violent or self medicating with drugs (legal or illegal), while helping them focus their blurred minds on good things in life.

Most of the people in prison are lead poisoned. Most are there for self medicating for lead poisoning... in prison for being lead poisoned... give me a break. How fucked up is this.... 1,000,000s of young lead poisoned inner city mostly blacks in prison for taking drugs to stop their lead poisoned brains from making them do anything worse... lives ruined forever...

I was thinking the other day about how stupid and corrupt is this issue. This isn't some other toxin - it is lead - and the impact is lead poisoning - and the only reason we in NEO are SOOO lead poisoned, still, is because there are 1,000s of paint and chemical industry jobs here and so much paint wealth here - and so much industrial pollution and wealth here. They have done everything in their power, for over a century, to poison you and confuse you about the facts and how to address the problem, when one simple data set... lead level in the body.... tells so much about a person and their problems...

I'd think you would want to know more about what the lead is doing to your adult body, as you age, as it will be part of your ultimate undoing... and very little research is looking at these issues. Are you aware certain foods and vitamins will reduce some health risks and impacts of lead in the body... there are things you can do throughout life to protect yourself, if you know?

As you know lead will cause you dementia, are you taking other intellectual actions to improve your mental activity to reduce the harm from the lead. Or will you just give in to the lead and the industrial complex that ultimately ruined so much about your life, without you really realizing it.

Greedy men covered the Earth with LEAD - largely from Ohio - and mankind has been fucked for lifetimes since... and we must clean it up now! Seriously! One toxin - one challenge that must be addressed.

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To PD Editors, Lead Poisoning is "disorder". How irresponsible!

I love how the PD "Editors" today rephrase the conclusions from CMSD's outside analyses on violence in Cleveland schools...

From their useful and informative News coverage of the story:

"Cleveland's plight is unique because of an unusually high rate of lead poisoning - from paint in aging houses - that can affect behavior and academic performance." and "The report notes that the schools must deal with issues that stem from the poverty and chaos that many students find in their neighborhoods."

From their useless and misinforming Editorial Spin on the story:

The chaos that now reigns is just a continuation of the disorder in many students' homes and neighborhoods.

As the mayor has wisely observed, better, safer neighborhoods create better, safer schools. Responsible adults must see to that.

Have you ever read more meaningless words?

The PD Editors are either on the direct take from Sherwin Williams or they are not responsible adults... as they say responsible adults must see to it our children have better, safer neighborhoods, and that begins with lead poisoning eradication.

Once again, the PD takes a real problem and a real solution and corrupts them with their industrial interests. A great opportunity to educate the public and help save 1,000s of children, squandered by the PD.

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An important AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN's agenda PD Editors

I came across an important website -   AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN’S AGENDA For the City of Cleveland: Urgent and Priority Issues - last updated in 2005 but still very on target. Under the "Urgent and Priority Issues" summary we find important observations that should be reflected in PD coverage of social concerns in NEO. In the data referenced below, in four years in Clevelsand ONLY 42 children died in firearms related incidents while in one year in just the Glenville neighborhood, of a small percentage of children screened, 649 (40%) were lead poisoned. If lead poisoning kills more children's brains than gun violence, by like 100X, and we barely care about lead poisoning, why on Earth do we care about the little harm caused to children or anyone by guns and violent crime... that is a minor concern of responsible adults.

Is it that we don't think (know!) lead poisoning harms us, personally, while we are oh so unreasonably scared of being shot by some lead poisoned punk?!?!

Here's what the AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN knew in 2005 - I'd love to learn more about this work and organization, which sems inactive...

Child Health and Safety

African American women want governmental entities that will act decisively to keep our children safe.  Over the past four years, 42 children – 11 girls and 31 boys – have died in firearm-related deaths, caused, in 45% of the cases, by other children. And a slow killer is destroying the health of our children:  out of 1,638 children screened for lead in Glenville, 649, or 40%, had lead poisoning.  Governmental entities must unite parents, families and neighborhoods to make the health and safety needs of children a top priority.  Governmental entities must act to decrease the availability of guns and weapons to children and improve environmental safety programs.

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