Monday, August 5, 2019

The Hard Numbers; Cleaning Up America's Lead Crisis


Hard Numbers; It Pays to Keep Lead Away

Why is it so expensive to clean up the lead contamination crisis in America? A recent report was published by a cabinet-level task force said it would cost $25 billion for 10 years to clean up all the lead in America's paint. It would cost up to $50 billion to clean up the lead pipes across the country. Soil contamination costs reach $10 billion for 10 years of work, but no one truly knows where exactly the contamination is so it could be more. 

For more stats, click here:  https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/6/12/18661193/lead-pipes-paint-flint-michigan-usa-cost-fix (move this to the bottom)What we do know is that hundreds of billions of dollars need to be spent to clean up all of the lead found in the paint and pipes around the nation. Billions more needs to be spent on cleaning up the contaminated soil that occurred from the lead-filled gasoline that has seeped into the soil decades earlier.

However investing in the cleanup of lead payoff in the long-term. Lead poisoning contributes to healthcare bills, increased crime rates, special education costs and reduced earnings over a life time.  Lead poisoning has also been linked to higher rates of teen pregnancy; reckless drinking and a decrease in children test scores in primary and secondary school.

This all may seem impossible and too expensive, but our children are our future and it is more cost effective and just, to make the investments we need to make to keep our kids safe and healthy.

Elevated Lead Levels Found in Rubber on Playground Equipment




Mulch Mania; Lead in Children’s Public Playground Surfaces

A recent Harvard study discovered that 28 playgrounds around Boston may be exposing children to unsafe levels of lead. The researchers also looked at the soil around the rubber surface and found high levels of lead in the surrounding mulch and sand.

Each playground tested had two forms of surface material; soil and rubber. On average the team found 66 micrograms of lead per gram of soil and 22 micrograms per gram of rubber. One soil sample "exceeded the 400-microgram limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency for play areas" and "nine playgrounds had a soil sample greater than 80 micrograms of lead per gram" of surface material. The team collected 85 samples


Rubber surfaces on playgrounds have been used in recent years to prevent injury. The mulch is seen as a way to use scrap tires and increase recycling rates.  Rubber mulch is also washable and sanitation is a selling point as well.  But this new research raising concerns about rubber mulch needs to be taken seriously. 


Families need to learn more about the potential risks of rubber mulch to their children and more studies need to be done to help validate these results in other communities.  Both public and residential spaces could have exposure to rubber mulch so the scope of the concern could be large.  Most importantly, we need to start holding our businesses and manufacturers accountable to know the risk of their products and not put families in harm’s way.  



For the CLPPP 2016 report: