May 17, 2023 (MANCHESTER, NH) – Manchester’s Board of Mayor and Aldermen have voted unanimously to create a commission to prevent childhood lead poisoning in the city. The commission will serve an essential, ongoing role in identifying strategies that can be employed by the city to reduce lead hazards and better protect Manchester children. Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) released the following statement in response.
“One child affected by lead poisoning is too many, and this problem has persisted for far too long,” said Arnold Mikolo, Environmental Justice Advocate at CLF. “Our children deserve to grow up free from this toxic threat. The creation of this commission is a major step towards ending this injustice once and for all and protecting Manchester’s children.”
The outcome of last night’s vote is a collective effort by community members who came to speak up in support of the Lead Commission, over 150 people who signed a petition asking the city to take action, and Aldermen Christine Fajardo who co-led this effort to the finish line.
In New Hampshire, nowhere is lead poisoning more prevalent than in Manchester, where every year approximately 100 children are diagnosed with elevated levels of lead in their blood.
Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust are the most widespread and hazardous sources of lead exposure for young children. Any exposure to lead is dangerous, and even low levels of exposure can cause irreversible health problems – including IQ deficits and cognitive and behavioral issues – effectively robbing children of their full potential. And, while the problem affects children across all demographics, it disproportionately affects low-income and communities of color the hardest.
CLF experts are available for further comment.