The Lead Amnesia Hypothesis

Symptoms of Lead Induced Amnesia

In 2005 Cleveland enacted a Lead Safe Housing registry. No one ever registered.'

In 2021, Governor DeWine released a Lead Task Force Final Report. Three years later the State of the State message focused on child well being, but never mentioned lead poisoning. 

In May 2023, Ohio Department of Health adopted a new definition of lead poisoning called "elevated blood lead" Under ODH guidance, EBL is to be treated with outreach and education of parents during normal working hours. No inspections until a child's EBL reaches 10 mg/dl.  

Wait! that was same the standard Ohio used BEFORE the CDC standard issued in 2021. 

A person who works in "the system" observed that the decision to make a change that was no change was "driven by economic considerations."

The Lead Amnesia Hypothesis is simply the observable fact that the less the public is exposed to news about lead, the more likely they are to forget that lead is a problem.

Related syndrome is the famous "if we don't talk about it, lead poisoning will go away" policy.

Regretfully we've encountered the "move the sofa" remedy which involves moving the sofa will prevent a poisoned child from coming into contact with lead dust on the windowsill. 

Predictably another crisis will come along (Pandemic, Say Yes to Education, Racism as a Public Health issue...) to divert the public eyes (and dollars) away from lead poisoning. After all you can't see lead. Many times there are no symptoms. Didn't we remove lead from paint in 1978? From gas in the 1980s? So what's the problem now?

Has Syracuse found and antidote?

Sep. 10, 2023, Get tougher on Syracuse landlords letting kids be poisoned by lead (Editorial Board Opinion). "A year ago, Syracuse created a new weapon to fight childhood lead poisoning. City government enacted a law that makes peeling paint a code violation as serious as faulty wiring or broken porch steps. Property owners could be fined if they don’t seal in the lead by painting over it. A year later, the city has made some progress. Code enforcement officers have issued more than 3,000 lead violations and brought more than 1,600 properties into compliance. That’s a drop in the ocean in a city of 9,000 rental properties — but it’s a start. It’s also clear that city government does not have strong enough tools to compel landlords to do the bare minimum to keep another generation of children from getting poisoned by lead — and doing irreversible damage to their brains, their capacity to learn and their personalities. Various efforts to attack the lead problem by city government, Onondaga County government, nonprofit groups and charities are stymied by amoral property owners who just don’t care that they are permanently harming children."

Related conditions. Somebody Else's Problem.