The Flint crisis made sure that lead poisoning and lead replacement became a national issue. It is one of the most important problems of the century, but tackling lead poisoning requires us to look at the overall picture, for the issue with lead is also related to one of the deep-rooted problems in the country – its deteriorating infrastructure.
A Deep-Rooted Issue
The problems faced by poor families aren’t restricted to Flint alone. Approximately 24 million homes in the US alone have crumbling paint on the walls. Millions don’t have jobs, making them even more susceptible to the dangers of lead. In the year 2014, 1//5th of the children tested in Detroit tested positive for lead poisoning. Elevated levels of lead were found in drinking water close to numerous city schools in Newark. Similar examples can be found all over the US.
The Problem with Lead
Lead poisoning causes severe brain damage and often leads to issues like difficulty in learning, poor performance in school and a low IQ. It was only in the year 2008 that the lead used in paint was reduced to acceptable levels. However, the lead industry has fought regulation ferociously, and this means that lead isn’t just restricted to our crumbling walls, it also found a way into the water supply all over the US through deteriorating infrastructure and water pipes that should have been replaced long ago.
The Good Work of a Few
Some have understood the need for concentrating on infrastructure. Bernie Sanders called for an infrastructural investment of about $1 trillion which would ensure 13 million jobs and also take care of the deteriorating infrastructure, and this looks like a great place to start as any.
The Need for Investment
Lead poisoning reminds us that our future generations are at a huge risk due to our neglect. We often avoid lead replacement and infrastructure expenses. As a result, numerous grids, waterways, houses and bridges are in a terrible state. Cases of bridges collapsing and injuring hundreds of citizens are constantly on the rise. We often hear stories of methane leaks in gas distribution pipelines as well.
America needs major investment in its infrastructure, now more than ever. This will help address two of our biggest issues and will also create millions of jobs for our constantly growing list of unemployed citizens. Investment in infrastructure has failed to keep pace with the country’s technological advancements, and this is one of the main reasons why we were forced to witness crises like the ones in Newark and Flint. Today, we need to look at lead replacement with renewed fervor to ensure that we can give our kids and their kids a lead-free economy.