R 69
2000-H 7817
Enacted 2/10/2000

H  O  U  S  E     R  E  S  O  L  U  T  I  O  N


Introduced By:  Representative McNamara Date Introduced:  February 8, 2000

WHEREAS, Lead poisoning in Rhode Island has proven to be an equal opportunity toxin that cuts across socio-economic lines. As Rhode Island's suburban communities age, the threat of increased rates of childhood lead poisoning could very well become a shocking reality. Part of the reality is that prevention and educational efforts are not currently embraced in our aging suburban neighborhoods. Suburban communities like Warwick, where 92 percent of homes were built before the 1978 ban on lead-based paint, are typical of Rhode Island's maturing housing infrastructure; and

WHEREAS, In 1999, 10.4 percent of Rhode Island's six-year-olds, and up to 7.0 percent of six-year-olds in some Warwick neighborhoods, had blood levels of 10 ug/dl (micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood) or higher, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health. While suburban childhood lead poisoning levels pale compared to the typical 20 percent levels of Rhode Island's urban centers such as Providence, Pawtucket, and Woonsocket, it is important that policy-makers realize that this preventable childhood disease effects virtually every community in our state; and

WHEREAS, The elimination of childhood lead poisoning in Rhode Island is an achievable goal in the new millennium. Several state and community-based agencies have laid the groundwork to make this goal a reality. Through the efforts of the Rhode Island Department of Health, the Rhode Island Childhood Lead Action Project, Health & Education Leadership for Providence, Rhode Island Housing & Mortgage Finance Corporation, and a broad coalition of community groups, the foundation for a lead poisoning free state has begun. Our challenge will be to build on and learn from the progress that has been made in combating this toxic plague; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island's suburban communities should embrace the same components that have brought success to urban childhood lead poisoning prevention programs. These program elements are:

(1) The screening of all children, along with environmental inspection of homes of children who have been identified with high lead levels, and referrals to appropriate community services for these children;

(2) Demographic community breakdown of neighborhood lead poisoning levels utilizing current Rhode Island Department of Health data;

(3) The use of demographic community data to increase awareness of children, parents, health professionals, schools, and specific neighborhoods that have high lead poisoning levels;

(4) Increased educational programs for parents and children. Community groups such as PTA's, religious organizations, and local newspapers to launch lead poisoning prevention programs; and

(5) Coordination of federal, state and community initiatives to focus lead poison preventative programs in high-risk neighborhoods; and

WHEREAS, Policy-makers who represent suburban communities must work closely with their urban colleagues in focusing resources on eliminating childhood lead poisoning in every community in our state. Rhode Island cannot afford to lose the potential that this disease steals from our children. Eliminating this preventable disease is one battle Rhode Island cannot lose - the cost that we have paid already has been much too high; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED, That this House of Representatives of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations urges Rhode Island's cities and towns to combine their resources to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in every community in our State; and be it further

RESOLVED, That the Secretary of State be and he hereby is authorized and directed to transmit a duly certified copy of this resolution to the Mayor or Town Manager of every city or town in the State of Rhode Island.

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