While the poisoning of the children of Flint, Mich., has outraged the nation, too much lead in children’s blood long has been an everyday fact in many U.S. cities, says The New York Times.
But it’s not because of drinking water; it’s because a decades-long attack on lead in household paint has faltered, the paper says.
It’s a “tragic reminder that one of the great public health crusades of the 20th century remains unfinished,” the Times says.
“Unless there is some sort of concerted national effort to do something about this problem, it’s going to persist for years to come,” says Philip Landrigan, a leading expert on lead and professor of preventive medicine and pediatrics at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine.
But in most cities, the lead threat is confined largely to poor neighborhoods with little political clout. There is little official urgency — and increasingly, little money — to address the problem, says the Times.