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Public invited to share lead poisoning concerns


Last year’s lead poisoning crisis in Flint, MI stemmed from that city’s drinking water supply. However, in Buffalo most lead poisoning cases come from lead paint. That will be the topic of conversation Thursday evening at the Merriweather Library on Jefferson Avenue.

The Partnership for Public Good and the Center for Governmental Research are hosting the meeting about lead poisoning prevention that begins at 6 p.m. Partnership Executive Director Sam Magavern says it is the city’s older housing stock that continues to put kids in danger of exposure.

"Most of the lead poisoning cases that arise come from lead paint," he said. "The dust from lead paint or the chips or the flakes from lead paint, kids - little kids who put their hands to their mouth a lot, especially, So they'll be crawling around on the floor, they'll be playing with their toys and there'll be lead dust in the unit from this old chipped or flaking lead paint."

Magavern says a recent study found four zip codes in the city where 40 percent of children had been exposed to lead. He says a lack of inspections on certain properties is contributing to lead poisoning cases.

"The smaller rental properties, so the single-family homes that are getting rented out or the duplexes," he said. "Those aren't covered by Buffalo's regular rental inspection program. So the larger buildings, with three units and up, they all have to get inspected every couple years by the city to make sure they're up to code, but the single-family homes and duplexes that get rented out don't get those regular inspections."

Magavern also is worried that funding for lead prevention programs could be cut due to the Trump Administration’s proposed slashing of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s budget. He said EPA funding is an important resource in preventing lead poisoning.

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