In the United States, lead poisoning is one of the most common
childhood diseases, and children of color are disproportionately its
victims. Portland is no different.
Despite federal restrictions on lead use, many low income and children
of color in Portland continue to live, learn and play in lead
contaminated environments. Ingested and inhaled by children, lead
causes many serious health problems including heart disease and
possibly cancer. Lead can also cause neuro-behavioral problems such
as Attention Deficit Disorder. As a result, in addition to causing health
problems, Portland's childhood lead poisoning epidemic also steals
education and economic opportunity and parity from primarily lowincome
and people of color, families and communities - the
populations served by the Urban League of Portland.
Portland's childhood lead poisoning epidemic is preventable. What is
lacking is a properly designed, funded and executed lead poisoning
prevention and education program. Public ignorance and political
indifference are the obstacles. The Urban League of Portland's role in
stopping childhood lead poisoning is to inform and educate the
community we serve, and to mobilize community and political support
to fund and create an effective childhood lead poisoning prevention
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