President Donald Trump recently nominated Dr. Ben Carson for the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) position. While Dr. Carson says that the country needs more resources to fight lead poisoning, his recommendation to add more neighborhood medical clinics is not the answer. CLEARCorps USA hopes that Dr. Carson’s focus will be more on the remediation of lead in thousands of homes across America.
“We absolutely need medical clinics to care for children and adults who have been exposed to lead,” says Sue Gunderson, Executive Director of CLEARCorps USA, “but to prevent lead exposure in the first place, we need to focus on rebuilding and building healthier homes. This includes replacing lead pipes in older homes, eradicating lead from contaminated soil, removing old lead paint in houses built before 1978, and, of course, testing all children for lead poisoning.”
Dr. Katrina Smith Korfmacher, professor of Environmental Medicine, UR, says children are more at-risk for lead poisoning because it can lead to brain damage and even personality disorders. “In general, having more health services and more access is important for kids to be able to get screened for lead and get whatever services they need.” But she said lead poisoning can’t be treated, so clinics would need to focus on prevention, providing more ways for people to test their homes for lead. “HUD has a really important role to play in terms of funding lead hazard control grants and supporting regulations that make publicly owned and publicly regulated housing lead safe.”
“We’re looking forward to learn who President Trump will select as the head of CDC (the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) and hope that lead prevention and remediation will be a priority in the months to come,” Gunderson added, “and CLEARCorps USA will work to help Dr. Carson and his staff address and resolve the lead crisis in the U.S.”
CLEARCorps USA is focused where it’s needed most — the remediation of lead in our communities. If you have a story you’d like to share, please send it to us at www.CLEARCorps.org.