In a recent Inquirer story, the state Department of Environmental Protection confirmed “unacceptable” levels of toxic lead in the soil in 26 locations around a busy shopping corridor in Kensington, including one sample that was found to exceed by 25 times the federal limit of safety for children.
The graphic accompanying the Inky’s story shows many red circles scattered throughout an aerial map of the old Anzon lead factory, enumerating the sites of danger.
And, yes, that sick feeling in your stomach is appropriate.
Children have played in that danger for years, including atop the now notorious “Mount Wawa,” a dirt mound on former Anzon site that touched the Kensington, Fishtown and Port Richmond neighborhoods. Construction in the area flings poisoned dirt into the air, which, until Inky reporters started filing their stories, were an unconfirmed source of toxic lead poisoning.
Are we doing enough to protect children? Any gut-check should tell you the answer is no and will always be no until our neighborhoods are lead-free.
That’s why we’re assembling a team.
PCCY’s Philly Lead Poisoning Summit is ultimately about launching a new, public-private sector coalition to get lead hazards out of children’s homes so they are never poisoned in the first place and make Philadelphia one of the safest places for kids to live in the country. PCCY led the effort to enact the 2011 Lead Paint Disclosure Law that requires landlords with properties built before 1978 where a child 6 and younger resides to test for possible lead hazards.
Earlier this year Mayor Kenney’s Advisory Group on Lead Poisoning helped revitalize local efforts to eliminate this entirely preventable health condition that first injures children when they are toddlers. The Advisory Group identified a set of recommendations to further strengthen prevention efforts in the city including expansion of the law to require all rental units built before 1978 to secure certification.
The Summit will build awareness about the housing-based Advisory Group’s recommendations, identify action steps for the public and private sector to advance them and kickstart a new vehicle, the Philly Lead Poisoning Prevention Coalition.
At the Summit, Dr. Tom Farley, Philadelphia Health Commissioner and David Perri, Commissioner of the Department of Licenses & Inspections, will discuss lead activities and the Lead Paint Disclosure Law.
Featured speakers will include:
Councilwoman Blondell Reynolds Brown
Dr. Dave Jacobs, National Center for Health Housing
Paul Cohen, Homeowners Association of Philadelphia (HAPCO)
Ann Marie Healy, First Hospital Foundation
Several others from inside and outside the city will share their best practices that will contribute to a plan to make Philadelphia a place where all kids are protected from lead. Speakers are coming from Rochester, NY, New York City, Baltimore, Trenton and DC.
A few spots are still open, and if you’d like to represent your organization at the Summit, RSVP by Monday, November 13 by going to www.pccy.org/phillyleadsummit.
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