Lead in the News

Cleveland can learn from the work of activists and policy makers  around the Country

June 2024

June 14, 2024. Ideastream Public Media. Cleveland's "cyber event" sets back lead-safe home efforts. "Money is available to Cleveland homeowners to make their property lead-safe. Currently, landlords must email or mail applications as the online application portal is not available. Cyber security issues that shut down the City of Cleveland operations this week also hampered efforts to ensure all residential rental properties are lead-safe. A 2019 city law requires landlords who don’t reside in their residential properties to register each unit with the city. A recently launched online portal, which aims to make the process easier, is not operating partly due to the cyber incident. Online registrations were beginning to flood into the system when the portal went live last week, said Sally Martin, Cleveland's director of building and housing, at a lead-safe advisory board meeting Thursday. The online portal is currently not operating, she said. Martin said the online application process for residential property owners to apply for lead certification has also been delayed due to challenges the city is experiencing with the software." 

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May. 28, 2024. cleveland.com. Water company crews will get the lead out on North Park Boulevard in Cleveland Heights. "After the initial shock of finding out their water lines may be made of lead, about two dozen North Park Boulevard residents got some relief in learning that the pipes will be replaced for free. Cleveland Water officials assured any affected customers that 'first and foremost, our water is safe,' even in lines that predate 1954 -- the year they stopped installing lead. Those years in Cleveland Heights may differ, since the city was its own 'master meter community' up until turning over the entire system to Cleveland Water in 2017. More recently on North Park Boulevard, things got off to a rocky start in letters dated May 2 regarding Cleveland Water’s 'lead service line replacement program.' ”

Around Ohio

May 28, 2024. WCPO. 'It's about showing somebody that you care': Cincinnati nonprofit fixes homes, keeps community connected. "People Working Cooperatively is repairing homes for those who can’t do it themselves. For one local organization, it just takes a paintbrush or broom to show someone that you care. 'We're going to sand all the old paint off and were going to refinish the front and back porch, give it a nice fresh new look,' Brady Fogle said. Volunteer Brady Fogle. Fogle, a volunteer with the nonprofit People Working Cooperatively (PWC), helped one homeowner paint her front and back porch on Tuesday. PWC, which has partnered with FC Cincinnati and Sherwin Williams Paint Store to make this happen, has thousands of volunteers who venture into the community to help homeowners who can’t fix up their homes themselves." If your community organizations wants to help, learn more about Lead Safe Work Practices before you "sand off all the old paint". You may be making things worse.

Around the US

USEPA seeks your input

EPA Region 5 is launching the first in a series of virtual community engagement sessions on Jun 10, 2024 07:00 PM Eastern Time. Goal is to support open and inclusive dialogue with community leaders as they engage with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), our State partners, and others on environmental justice (EJ) concerns throughout the Region. We will share information about our various grant programs and technical assistance resources and learn about environmental priorities and needs that are affecting communities. Our target audience is community leaders in urban, suburban, and rural areas that represent communities that may be experiencing EJ related issues and may have not received EPA resources or support previously. All attendees are required to register in order to attend. We encourage you to attend as well as ask that you share these flyers with your local networks/contacts. We currently have 200 community members registered, thank you for those who are registered.

May 2024

Around Ohio

May 24, 2024. CNN. Once celebrated, an inventor’s breakthroughs are now viewed as disasters — and the world is still recovering

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The importance of child lead testing

CLASH is an all volunteer, mostly self funded coalition of nine community based organizations committed to making Cleveland Lead Safe. 

Did you find something of value in this week's edition of stay in touch? Leave a tip in the CLASH TIP JAR.

Lead Never Goes Away...But there are ways to reduce the risk

Stay in your silo, Mr. Lead

Ideastream Public Media reports Cleveland Clinic event focuses on public dialogue, education to address Black health disparities  "We need to educate more around healthy behaviors that actually are preventative, eating behaviors, lifestyle behaviors that are preventative, that allow people to avoid developing chronic illnesses..." CLASH comment: Whoops...did you forget to mention childhood lead poisoning? 

April 2024

Around Ohio

April 14, 2024. Richland Source. Couple restoring historic home finds lead in an unexpected place: “'Our kids were getting poisoned by our home.' ” Jordon and Talon Baker weren’t sure if they wanted to stay in Mansfield when they got married eight years ago. The young couple joked that if they did stay in their hometown, they wanted to live somewhere special. 'I always wanted a Victorian on Park Avenue,' Talon said. 'That was the thing — if we’re going to stay here long-term, let’s try to get one of those.' The Bakers made that dream a reality four years ago. They purchased their home at 317 Park Avenue West when their oldest child Ophelia was a baby.

Around Us.

Why is there so much Lead in American Food?

Lead and adult heart disease risk

CLASH's study of barriers to child lead testing support many of these findings. The CLASH report should be released later this summer.

Around Cleveland

Tell Cleveland where to spend Federal Funds to make Cleveland lead safe. Signal Cleveland reports "The city has been collecting feedback since March as part of a requirement to secure the federal dollars to fund housing and related programs in Cleveland. The programs are focused on providing affordable housing and development opportunities to low-income communities. So far, zero residents have commented on how the money should be spent, said city administrator Joy Anderson. Residents have two ways to share their thoughts about how housing and related programs should be funded across the city over the next year: 

In case you need ideas about how the city could promote lead safety visit CLASH 2024 priorities and page down to Advocacy goals.

Around Ohio

Apr. 5, 2024. WTVG. Junction Coalition to host lead education event. "The Junction Coalition is hosting a lead education event for the community this weekend. According to organizers, the event aims to educate families on the dangers of lead exposure and provide them with resources to get help. Attendees will learn about what the Junction Coalition and their partners are doing to combat lead poisoning and will have the opportunity to sign up for the Junction Coalition’s “419 Lead Out Program” to help families get the help they need."

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Lead and Drag Racers

June 23, 2023. Motorbiscuit. Oregon Drag Strip Accused of Poisoning Children From Lead in Race Fuel. "After a study of lead emissions coming from a local Oregon drag strip, it was determined that children adjacent to the track had cognitive decline. Here's what the study showed and what's happened since. Portland International Raceway is accused of affecting children’s health because of lead emissions from racing fuel. Residents adjacent to the track say low test scores of children living downwind of the track prove that lead emissions are affecting their cognitive development. And now other drag strips nationwide are the focus of investigations over their use of leaded racing fuel. According to an investigation by the Guardian, the cause for cumulative lead exposure in nearby children is racing at PIR. Lead was phased out of gasoline decades ago and was ultimately banned by the Environmental Protection Agency in 1996. But it is still in the fuel of drag racers as there is an “off-road” exemption. Some racing organizations, like NASCAR, no longer use leaded fuel." Keep reading...all interesting. Worthy of further investigation.

Lead risks to immigrant communities

APRIL 02, 2024. Sacramento Bee.  Hemorrhoid ointment containing lead fatally poisoned woman in Sacramento, health officials say "Sacramento County health officials on Tuesday warned consumers after a local woman purchased a hemorrhoid ointment from Vietnam on social media and died from lead poisoning. The woman in Sacramento developed severe lead poisoning after using the hemorrhoid ointment from Vietnam, called “Cao Boi Tri Cay Thau Dau,” according to a Sacramento County news release. She purchased the ointment on Facebook, and it was mailed to the United States by a relative in Vietnam."  More Here: California woman's fatal poisoning from hemorrhoid cream highlights lead risks

Mar. 28, 2024. cleveland.com. Cleveland’s Mayor Justin Bibb attributes crime reduction, more police applicants to his safety initiatives.  CLASH Noticed No mention of lead, but praise for Residents First legislation.  There was a strong defense of CMSD's "tough choices" but no mention of lead hazards or lead testing in schools. One quote did catch our eye when we read it in Cleveland Scene "That's not an excuse," Bibb said, concluding his speech. "It's a reminder that change doesn't happen overnight. But I'm not going to tell you to be patient. Instead, I ask you to stay engaged, demand better, and be proud of the progress we are making together.” Stay engaged, demand better and be proud of the progress we're making together.' THAT'S CLASH!

Around Cleveland

Mar. 27, 2024. cleveland.com. Children’s well-being is at stake in Cleveland’s lead-safe refresh, version 3.0: editorial. "The good news is that Cleveland is still trying valiantly to recalibrate its approach to making Cleveland rentals lead-safe by 2028 -- this time by creating a special section in the city’s Housing and Building Department that will take a case-management approach to helping noncompliant small landlords navigate the bureaucracy, financial and other challenges. The bad news is that all signs point to cratering landlord compliance, especially among smaller landlords. Meanwhile, hundreds of Cleveland children continue to test annually at elevated lead levels in their blood -- 316 last year, compared with 257 in 2022, cleveland.com’s Courtney Astolfi reports, although the higher number could reflect more robust testing. Actually the higher number reflects a mid-year adjustment of the action level from 5 micrograms/deciliter to the "new" CDC standard of 3.5 micrograms. A CLASH adage is "the more you look, the more you find."

Around Us

Lead and Crime

March 21, 2024. MLK50.org Would removing lead from homes reduce the crime rate? " ‘Crime occurs when people are unwell’: Here’s how experts say the toxin affects children’s brains, public safetyOn a May 2023 episode of his podcast, former Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen asked renowned criminal justice economist Jennifer Doleac for her top suggestions for improving public safety. Doleac gave an unconventional answer: Protect young kids from lead. Exposure to lead … when you’re really young, it changes your brain development. Fifteen years later, we’re going to see much higher rates of juvenile delinquency (and) suspension from school,' Doleac said. 'If it were up to me — if I had a magic wand — I would spend a whole lot of money on getting lead out of the environment.' ”  CLASH has updated our webpage on lead and crime using some of the links in this article-check it out.

Lead in Cookware: a problem for immigrant families

This week Washington Governor Jay Inslee signed the Lead in Cookware Act, which will ban the toxic from any products used to cook food. This is particularly a problem with cookware produced overseas and used in immigrant households. Below are some links to the coverage of this news from the State of Washington. CLASH consultant Dr. Maria Jose Talayero Schettino opens her presentation on lead and crime with several slides showing the cookware she ate from as a child in her native Mexico and when she later treated lead poisoned children as a pediatrician in Mexico City before coming to GW University to get her PhD in Public Health. 

You can read more about the impacts of lead among immigrant households at CLASH's webpage. https://www.clashcle.org/resources/resources-for-families/resources-for-immigrant-communities

March 2024

Around Cleveland

Mar. 18, 2024. cleveland.com. Lagging compliance with Cleveland’s lead-safe law prompts changes from City Hall. "Cleveland is “re-tooling” its approach to the city’s 2019 landmark lead-safety law because few landlords are complying. The announcement comes alongside new data that shows first-time lead-safe certifications during the last three months of 2023 dropped to just 345 -- the lowest level yet since early 2021. The drop caps off a year-and-a-half-long pattern of declines in the number of landlords complying with the law by registering their pre-1978 rental homes as lead-safe. During a City Council committee hearing on Monday, Emily Collins, senior strategist for Mayor Justin Bibb, acknowledged that Cleveland’s lead initiative has hit “a bit of a stall.” She said the city is “re-tooling” several aspects of its enforcement efforts to hopefully increase compliance." thanks Andre for sharing.

Around Ohio

Mar. 20, 2024. Spectrum News. State allocates $5.8 million more toward lead prevention and mitigation projects "In an effort to protect more Ohioans from toxic lead, the state is allocated an addition $5.8 million toward grant funding through the Lead Safe Ohio program, according to a press release from the state. The release notes that this brings the program total to $90 million, with efforts across 76 state counties."

Around Us

Lead Pipe News Week

The politics of local lead safety policies: a little late, but worth the read.

October 13, 2023. Milwaukee FOX6 News. Milwaukee city budget; lead abatement fix could cost billions. "You might be living with lead exposure in your home and not know it. In Milwaukee alone, it is estimated there are thousands of homes that are affected – and the fix could cost billions. Across the city, the Milwaukee Health Department is playing a game of whack-a-mole. A child gets lead poisoning that triggers a process to get rid of the lead from the family's home. Then another child gets lead poisoning – and that process happens again and again. 'We are seeing a spike, due to less children being tested during pandemic,' said Tyler Weber, City of Milwaukee Environmental Health Deputy Commissioner. So far in 2023, lead was found in 15,243 kids under age 6. Eighty percent of those come from rental units. City officials estimated there are about 200,000 units built in 1978 or earlier that are of concern with having lead paint. Just to make them lead-safe (not lead-free) costs about $40,000 a pop. If you do the math, to take care of it all would be in the billions of dollars." This story is a little old but exactly the dilemma that Cleveland faced in 2019 when CLASH mounted a citizen's initiative. Now the issue is making the plan work.

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Flint Still in the News

Lead in Processed Food (last week's articles were paywalled)

Around Cleveland

Mar 14, 2024 1:00 pm The Lead Safe Advisory Board Meetings are held at City Hall, Room 509 and run from 1 pm to about 2:30 pm. The meetings are open to the public to attend or to view. 


Meeting number: 2304 828 4388 Password: w8Pyp429RVV

Around Ohio

February 29, 2024. Morning Journal Lorain County commissioners approve consultant for countywide lead abatement program. "Lorain County commissioners unanimously passed legislation at a meeting Feb. 27 to hire a consulting group to complete a county-wide lead abatement project. The commissioners initially balked at paying Kleinfelder Inc. $672,000 to administer Lorain County’s Lead Safe Ohio Grant, which it received in January. Lorain County received the $1,892,000 grant to complete lead safe renovation projects, lead abatement projects and related supportive measures for sites that meet the eligibility criteria throughout the county over the next two years, officials have said.County Administrator Jeff Armbruster was hesitant to spend money on the consultant, so the commissioners tabled legislation for a month, said Commission Vice President David Moore. In recent years, the commissioners hired several consultants with a hefty price tag and the board is attempting to cut back on the cost of hiring consultants when possible, the commissioners have said. The commission had no choice to hire the consultant for the lead abatement program because it is a stipulation of the grant, Moore said." Did we read this right? The consultant gets 35% of the grant? Nice work if you can get it.

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Everybody has one.

MARCH 08, 2024. Kansas City Star. Pete Buttigieg attacks Kris Kobach for calling benefits of lead pipe rules ‘speculative’  "U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg and other Democrats attacked Kansas Attorney General Kris Kobach on Friday after he suggested the benefits of federal regulations on lead pipes were 'speculative.' The Republican state attorney general on Thursday night criticized a line in President Joe Biden’s State of the Union address touting the removal of lead pipes across the country as a victory. 'Biden wants to replace lead pipes. He failed to mention that the unfunded mandate sets an almost impossible timeline, will cost billions, infringe on the rights of the States and their residents – all for benefits that may be entirely speculative,' Kobach said in a post to X, the social media site formerly known as Twitter." 

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This week in the Tainted Applesauce story

Feb 27, 2024. NYT. Lead-Tainted Applesauce Sailed Through Gaps in Food-Safety System. "Hundreds of American children were poisoned last year. Records show how, time and again, the contamination went unnoticed." More here 

EPA and HUD Renew Memorandum of Understanding re: enforcement

"The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced two complementary agreements to further their “whole of government” approach to strengthen these agencies’ shared work in ensuring that children, especially those at high risk, are not exposed to human health risks from lead hazards. These two Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) support commitments made in the Lead and Paint Action Plan, EPA’s Strategic Plan, HUD’s Strategic Plan, and HHS’s Strategic Plan, which seek to reduce lead exposures locally with a focus on underserved communities and promote environmental justice through a whole of government approach. One MOU expands, updates, and reaffirms a 1997 agreement between EPA and HUD to coordinate their enforcement efforts addressing lead-based paint hazards in housing." Read it here and follow the links.

February 2024

round Cleveland

Feb. 05, 2024. cleveland.com Cleveland City Council adopts new blight-fighting tools, with some changes to Mayor Bibb’s plan. "Cleveland City Council on Monday passed its version of Mayor Justin Bibb’s “Residents First” housing code enforcement overhaul, which maintains much of Bibb’s original plan, but includes some compromises." 

Around Us (Cleveland's not alone in addressing lead. We can learn from other cities and states)

This week's Fruit Pouch News

States take the lead on lead

Around Cleveland

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This week in fruit pouches 

January 29, 2024. USA TODAY.  Recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches were never tested for lead, FDA reports. "The recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches contaminated with lead that sickened hundreds of children were not tested for the heavy metals at the manufacturing plant, a U.S. Food and Drug Administration investigation finds. An FDA document, first obtained by CBS News, details an inspection of the Austrofood factory in Ecuador that happened at the beginning of December. The inspection found that "numerous rough edges, chipped, and pitted areas" on a stainless-steel conveyor belt led to metal pieces breaking off and ending up in the final product."  wake up call, FDA.

January 2024

Around Cleveland 

Around Ohio

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This week in Fruit Pouch Poisoning

Around Cleveland

Around Ohio

Lots of local stories about Ohio CHIP grants for lead clean up. Funny to see all these rural r's line up to take credit for big guv'mt money.

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EPA News, local and regional fallout

WTF? Is this the next fad?

January 20, 2024. Yahoo.com. This common cat litter ingredient can help keep dangerous lead from poisoning people’s yards: ‘It’s 20 minutes of work’ Zeolite, a super-absorbent mineral common in cat litter, can also sop up lead contamination in your backyard." Here's the rest of the story. Anyone want to do some research?

Around Cleveland-The missing link?  

A copy of the December report of the Lead Safe Auditor turned up this week on a Cleveland City Council link. The CWRU website that hosts Cleveland's Lead Safe Advisory Board information has not been updated since the December 14th meeting, although Signal Cleveland published a PowerPoint presentation of the December report. A quick review of the newly discovered 19 page report seemed to echo the findings of the September Auditors Report, which set off a flurry of news stories when it was made public in late October. Takeaway? "It has been reported in prior quarters, as in this one, that compliance for rentals not on the registry has been minimal, providing factual evidence that further efforts must be made to bring those property owners into the certification process and achieve the stated goals."

Around Ohio

January 13, 2024. Morning Journal. Lorain County receives $45K grant to remove toxic lead from houses. "The Ohio Department of Development announced Jan. 11 that $1.6 million in grants to help remove toxic lead from 82 low- and moderate-income households in 25 communities across the state, including Lorain County, according to a news release. Lorain County will receive a $45,000 grant. The funding comes from Community Housing Impact and Preservation (CHIP) — Lead Abatement Program (LAP) money allocated through the Lead Safe Ohio program, which is investing a total of nearly $100 million to support lead mitigation and prevention projects, the release said. [   ] This is in addition to the $84 million in awards announced on Dec. 14, the release said." More here.

Around Us

Fruit pouch news of the week

Investigation of Elevated Lead & Chromium Levels: Cinnamon Applesauce Pouches (November 2023) "CDC’s National Center for Environmental Health is conducting case finding efforts in collaboration with state and local health departments. CDC’s case definition for state partners includes a blood lead level of 3.5 µg/dL or higher measured within 3 months after consuming a recalled WanaBana, Schnucks, or Weis brand fruit puree product after November 2022. As of January 5, CDC has received reports of 86 confirmed cases, 209 probable cases, and 26 suspected cases for a total of 321 cases from 38 different states through their reporting structure." Lots of stories, not much news.

Around Cleveland

Around Ohio

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This week in tainted applesauce

January 5, 2024. Associated Press via ABC.  Lead-tainted applesauce pouches also contained another possible toxic substance: FDAU.S. health officials say that recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches tied to lead poisoning in U.S. kids contained chromium, a chemical element that can be toxic "Recalled cinnamon applesauce pouches that were tied to lead poisoning in hundreds of U.S. children contained an additional contaminant, federal health officials said Friday. Besides lead, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said investigators detected “a high level” of the chemical element chromium, which can be toxic, in WanaBana apple cinnamon fruit puree and in cinnamon collected from the Ecuador factory where the pouches were manufactured.`` Here's the latest CDC update

December 2023

About those railroad bridges

This week in Applesauce food packets

Still no word on Cleveland's efforts to address railroad bridges.

Around Us

This week's update on Fruit Pouch investigations

12/14/2023. Politico. Applesauce pouches may have been contaminated on purpose, FDA foods chief saysThe food safety agency continues to investigate dozens of incidents of lead poisoning in U.S. children linked to three brands of cinnamon applesauce pouches. "Tainted cinnamon applesauce pouches that have sickened scores of children in the U.S. may have been purposefully contaminated with lead, according to FDA’s Deputy Commissioner for Human Foods Jim Jones. 'We’re still in the midst of our investigation. But so far all of the signals we’re getting lead to an intentional act on the part of someone in the supply chain and we’re trying to sort of figure that out,' Jones said in an exclusive interview. The pouches found to be contaminated were sold under three brands — Weis, WanaBana and Schnucks — that are all linked to a manufacturing facility in Ecuador. The FDA says it’s conducting an inspection of that facility."

Around Ohio

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Inside the Lead and Copper rule news

Another Upcoming EPA Region 5 Webinar

EPA Region 5 will be presenting a discussion on Tuesday, December 12, 2023 from 3to 4p.m. ET, Q&A session from 4 to 4:15 p.m. ET Health Impact Assessment (HIA) is a tool designed to investigate how a proposed program, project, policy, or plan may impact health and well-being and inform decision makers of these potential outcomes before the decision is made. HIA can also be used as an approach to engage the community as a stakeholder and to coproduce recommendations to improve community health. Registration and presentation information is in the attached flyer. Please pass this along to your contacts that might be interested.

The latest on applesauce pouches story


Around Us

Fruit Pouch Update

Don't Panic. Drink bottled water til we know

CLASH news

Around Cleveland

Around Ohio.

 It's YOU cinnamon!

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sidebar 1: Two more decades til we're done! That's why CLASH calls Lead a generational mission. 

sidebar 2: Wanna know more about lead pipes--see attached.

sidebar 1: Instead of waiting for sick babies to show up at the MD, here's a "go out and look for it" approach! 

sidebar 2: Are you listening Cuyahoga County Board of Health and Cleveland Department of Public Health?

Nov. 02, 2023, Cleveland.com. When it comes to making Cleveland lead-safe, our children can’t wait. "Cleveland Lead Advocates for Safe Housing (CLASH) would like to thank The Plain Dealer and cleveland.com editorial board for calling for radical action to save Cleveland’s Lead Safe Certificate Program (”Cleveland’s faltering lead-safe effort needs a recharge - and radical rethinking,” Nov. 1). CLASH has argued for four years that enforcement is the pathway to voluntary compliance."

By attending these classes, you will gain essential insights into identifying, mitigating, and preventing lead hazards in rental properties. Our expert instructors will guide you through best practices and regulations, empowering you to create healthier homes and protect the well-being of your tenants. 

October 2023

Around Cleveland

Oct 02, 2023. WEWS. CLE Lead Safe compliance slowing according to Case Western study "Erika Jarvis of Cleveland, who was lead poisoned at the age of four, reacted to the latest Case Western Reserve University report showing the city lead safe program may be stalling. The report shows lead safe applications among Cleveland landlords declined 24% in the second quarter of 2023 to just 490, a trend showing applications down 1000 per quarter since 2022. The study showed application denials are up 53% in the last quarter of 2023 and lead safe renewal by landlords after two years is just 20 to 30%. Jarvis told News 5 she believes the Cleveland Lead Safe Coalition needs to do more to reach out to non-compliant rental property owners in various ways." 

Two opinion pieces that deserve attention. 

September 2023

Approaching zero. A new goal that's between lead safe and lead free.

August 2023

July 2023

June 2023

May 2023

April 2023

March 2023