Is Money Spent On RRP A Cost Effective Approach To Lead Poisoning?
How bad is the child lead poisoning problem? And, how many of the poisoned children were poisoned by lead due to renovation work? The answer to these two simple questions might surprise you. Had the EPA and Congress done adequate research, might they have found better and more cost effective ways to further reduce the number of lead poisoned children?
First in the chart below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent (CDC) are the national numbers for lead poisoned children over the ten year period from 1997 to 2007. Notice that the number of children tested went up two fold, while at the same time the number with elevated blood levels dramatically dropped from about 7.5% of those tested down to about 1%, representing about an 87% drop. Keep in mind that all this happened before the RRP rule took effect in April of 2010 and while then Senator Obama was pushing EPA to enforce the RRP Rule. The chart proves that a recently released confusing and shortsighted regulation is now in place to address a problem that was already being dramatically reduced by other means. Might this prove that the government is going about solving the problem using tactics with limited effect while at the same time they are unaware of or even ignoring tactics they could expand upon that are already working?
No child should be poisoned by lead. However, our government and politicians are concentrating in the wrong area if they really want to substantially address the lead poisoning problem. As I had discussed in a previous blog, more children are poisoned by their own parents doing renovations than by contractors doing renovations. One study in NY showed that only 14% of those children found to have lead poisoning got it as a result of RRP related activities. The same study also reported that almost twice as many children were poisoned by their parents doing their own RRP work than by all others doing RRP work. It is likely that most would be renovation companies, but a good number could also have been homeowners who did the work before selling to a new owner, amateur “flippers”, landlords and or property developers doing their own work.
If our government has limited resources and money for something as important as lead poisoning, why has it chosen to address the problem by spending so much money and resources on regulating contractors when that same money could be better invested if it were used to educate and regulate the homeowners (parents) who cause the majority of RRP related poisonings in children, unfortunately and often unknowingly, their own children?