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Economics of racism and neglect: Flint, Newark and a generation of children at risk

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The images of long lines of residents in Flint, Michigan, and Newark, New Jersey, lining up for bottled water because their city water was contaminated with brain-damaging lead resembled what we once would have expected to see only in a National Geographic photo spread from a “developing nation.”

And yet in 2019 in Donald Trump’s America, Flint and Newark are not outliers.

From coast to coast, from border to border, the threat of lead contamination is most pronounced in poor communities of color — with potentially devastating consequences for infants and children.

The Center for Disease Control warns that even a slight elevation of lead levels in the blood can reduce IQs, stunt development and lead to behavioral problems.

In an academic white paper titled the “Racial Ecology of Lead Poisoning” Harvard researchers Robert Sampson and Alix Winter studied “the toxic inequality in Chicago neighborhoods from 1995 until 2013”:

Yet as the crisis in Flint, Michigan, revealed, there is a major health scourge that has not been subjected to the same analytic scrutiny at the neighborhood level as other health indicators — lead poisoning. Unlike longstanding health concerns, it was not until relatively recently that a sizable body of research built up and converged in concluding........

© Salon