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Get the lead out!

I’ve posted about our national love affair with lead poisoning before, but John Oliver almost makes it funny. Well, except that something this tragic isn’t funny at all.

We spend billions, if not trillions on fighting terrorism, and yet we won’t spend the money to clean up the lead in our environment, the lead that we stupidly put there ourselves. Despite the fact that it would save far more lives. And we are talking about children’s lives.

The World Health Organization estimates that lead exposure accounts for 143,000 deaths every year, and around 600,000 cases of brain damage in children annually, which causes intellectual disabilities.

There is also plenty of evidence that reducing lead pays for itself. Every dollar we spend on lead remediation returns at least $17 on lower crime and health costs.



  1. redjon wrote:

    Some of us have even talked about how ironic it is that the “advanced” jewel of the Roman Empire, the city of Rome itself, may to some extent have poisoned its citizens with the same lead that brought fresh water… except the Romans didn’t have the science we have and had no way to know. We KNOW this and continue not to fix it.

    Because… taxes.

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 3:00 pm | Permalink
  2. Iron Knee wrote:

    Maybe not (about Rome) — see or

    At the very least, Romans knew well of problems with lead.

    Would have been a good analogy though!

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  3. PatriotSGT wrote:

    There are ways to reduce potential exposure even without taxing. I have rental properties and I am required to have a lead test everytime I put in a new tenent into a house that was built before 1978. It’s an expensive pain but I understand. Why can’t states add a regulation that every home sold (built before 1978) be required to have a lead test. While we’re at it how about for every school and daycare facility where children gather?

    Tuesday, April 19, 2016 at 4:46 pm | Permalink
  4. Wildwood wrote:

    I agree PatriotSGT, we test for radon and termites and in some places asbestos and mold, why not lead? I’m curious, what do the lead tests you have run cost?

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 9:13 am | Permalink
  5. PATRIOTSGT wrote:

    They are $80-$120 a test (dust test) times the # of properties.
    There is a lead free certification that can be obtained, but the cost and procedures can run into the 1000’s. If you choose to go that route you’re lead free for life. But in my case, most of the tenants I have generally stay for 5 or more years.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 11:07 am | Permalink
  6. Wildwood wrote:

    Thanks for the reply Patriot. that doesn’t sound too bad, particularly since it’s a deduction I assume. I also assume that if everyone were made to do it, the price might go down. A good business idea maybe. A company that will test for all of the hazards or any selection of hazards. This would be really great for home buyers. One stop hazard testing.

    Wednesday, April 20, 2016 at 1:47 pm | Permalink
  7. Hmm wrote:

    FWIW, Pompeii was in the process of replacing their lead pipes with terracotta (??) or something. Anyway, evidence suggests that they had discovered the problems with lead and were taking action. At least that’s what the tour guides indicated.

    Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 8:25 am | Permalink
  8. PatriotSGT wrote:

    Wildwood, your correct on the test cost and bundling. Then state gov’t gets involved and they want a $30 per year, per house “lead registration fee”, even if you have the test, along with a biannuel home and sagety inspection and a $50 license fee. And they wonder why rental costs are skyrocketing. I use to just rent for slightly over the mortgage amount so families could have a nice place to live that was reasonable in price. But I guess my blue state doesn’t want that. 🙁

    Thursday, April 21, 2016 at 10:16 am | Permalink
  9. Wildwood wrote:

    Not having ever rented a house or been a renter, I don’t know a lot about the ins and outs of renting. My daughter had a house in Mesa for a few years that she rented out, but we are in the St. Louis area and a long distance rental just is too hard to deal with. I do know that every state, every municipality is different and that makes it even tougher. And in St. Louis County, with it’s, (I think), almost 200 municipalities it has to be a real challenge.

    Friday, April 22, 2016 at 8:11 am | Permalink