lead

Brown University

Researchers from Brown University have found that even low levels of lead in children’s blood can lower future test scores. It’s one of the first studies to isolate lead as a cause, and not just a factor, in student achievement.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The U.S. Housing and Urban Development agency is proposing lowering its threshold for childhood lead poisoning to match recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

RIPR FILE

The head of the U.S. department of Housing and Urban Development, Julian Castro, makes a stop in the Ocean State today. Castro is working to raise awareness of efforts to prevent lead poisoning.

Castro will join Senator Jack Reed on a tour of several homes in Providence, where federal funds have been used to clean up lead paint. The pair will also meet with housing officials and environmental advocates to discuss efforts to reduce lead exposure, especially among children.

Christopher Irwin / Creative Commons License via Flickr

For a year and a half, tens of thousands of people in Flint, Michigan were exposed to drinking water with dangerously high levels of lead. In the wake of the crisis, water sampling methods have come under scrutiny. Rhode Island Public Radio environmental reporter Ambar Espinoza sat down with the chief of the center for drinking water quality at the Rhode Island Department of Health to learn how Rhode Island has changed its testing protocols post-Flint.

Wikimedia / Creative Commons

Rhode Island will receive $3.4 million dollars to reduce lead hazards in homes. It's the seventh round of funding in more than a decade aimed at hundreds of homes with lead contamination.

Rhode Island Housing will distribute the funds to organizations that help identify homes at the highest risk for lead. These apartments or houses built were before 1978, when a ban on lead paint went into effect. And Rhode Island has a high percentage of older apartment buildings compared to the rest of the nation.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) met with leaders working to prevent lead poisoning today in Providence. Reed is pushing legislation to better regulate toxic chemicals like lead.

The Toxic Substances Control Act of 1976 hasn’t been updated in 40 years. It’s the law that regulates harmful chemicals, including lead. And  Reed says an update is in the works. But congressional negotiations over the bill remain contentious.

RIPR FILE

Just two decades ago, the vast majority of Rhode Island children had elevated levels of lead in their blood when they were tested at the start of Kindergarten. Today, the percentage has dropped into the single digits, according to Rhode Island Kids Count Executive Director Elizabeth Burke Bryant, whose organization started tracking blood lead statistics in the mid-1990s.

Katrin Baustmann

A new report from Providence Water finds some homes served by the water authority may be exposed to elevated levels of lead.  

The utility provides water to customers in Providence, North Providence, Johnston, and Cranston. Providence Water says the culprit is old lead pipes. About one in five Providence Water customers have lead pipes.

In a statement Providence Water writes: 

Bart Everson / Flickr

A law aimed at protecting children from unsafe levels of lead in their homes is working, according to a new study. But only when landlords comply with it.