Tag Archives: toxic substances

Lead poisoning hurts Detroit kids’ academics

Detroit Free Press reporters Tina Lam and Kristi Tanner-White report that data compiled by the city shows that “More than half of the students tested in Detroit Public Schools have a history of lead poisoning, which affects brain function for life.” Lead poisoning is bad news, but it gets much worse:detroit

Now, a landmark study by the city health department and Detroit Public Schools of lead data and test scores shows that the higher the lead level, the worse a student’s scores on the Michigan Educational Assessment Program exam, or MEAP.

Overall, 58% of roughly 39,000 DPS students tested – 22,755 children – had a history of lead poisoning, according to the study.

Perhaps more startling: Of the 39,199 students tested as young children, only 23 had no lead in their bodies.

There are confounding factors, of course, but this chart shows the correlation between lead exposure and weaker academic skills. It’s yet another blow for a school district whose students were already some of the worst performing in the nation.

The story ran with an excellent graphic on lead poisoning levels throughout the city over time, as well as a school-by-school database of lead poisoning statistics.

Hearing on ATSDR problems, future being webcast

The Subcommittee on Investigations & Oversight of the House Science & Technology Committee is having a hearing on the Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry this morning. A recent investigation found that the agency “often obscures or overlooks potential health hazards,” according to The Associated Press.

The subcommittee released a staff report on the agency and witness statements and other documentation are available. The hearing is being webcast – look for the link on the right side of the page

The agenda and list of witnesses:

ATSDR: Problems in the Past, Potential for the Future?

Panel I

  • Mr. Jeffrey Camplin, President, Camplin Environmental Services, Inc.
  • Dr. Ronald Hoffman, Professor, Tisch Cancer Institute, Department of Medicine, Mount Sinai School of Medicine
  • Professor Randall Parrish, Head, NERC Isotope Geosciences Laboratory, British Geological Survey
  • Mr. Salvador Mier, Local Resident, Midlothian, Texas, and Former Director of Prevention, Center for Disease Control

Panel II

  • Dr. Henry S. Cole, President, Henry S. Cole & Associates, Inc.
  • Dr. David Ozonoff, Professor of Environmental Health, Boston University School of Public Health
  • Mr. Ronnie Wilson, Former Ombudsman, Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry

Panel III

  • Dr. Howard Frumkin, Director, National Center for Environmental Health/Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry