Lead Safe St. Louis

An "out of order" sign hangs from the pipes of a water fountain at Patrick Henry Elementary School in St. Louis.
Carolina Hidalgo | St. Louis Public Radio

When preliminary tests by St. Louis Public Schools found that dozens of faucets and water fountains contained traces of lead, the district shut them off before the school year began.

District spokesperson Patrick Wallace said that to his knowledge, the schools’ water had not been tested for lead within the past 10 years.

A full survey released Thursday found elevated lead levels in 88 district water fountains and sinks.

Before it was banned in 1978, lead paint was commonly used in homes. In St. Louis, which is dominated by older housing stock, lead contamination is still prevalent.
Abby Lanes | Flickr

Four employees who work in a Veterans Affairs records office in north St. Louis have tested positive for higher than average levels of lead in their blood, though officials stressed that the measurements still fall within the range that is normal for U.S. adults.  

Before it was banned in 1978, lead paint was commonly used in homes. In St. Louis, which is dominated by older housing stock, lead contamination is still prevalent.
Abby Lanes | Flickr

The lead contamination water crisis in Flint, which has captivated American attention since early this year, has a lot of people asking: Could this happen where I live? On Wednesday’s “St. Louis on the Air,” several guests joined host Don Marsh to discuss the state of lead remediation in St. Louis and if a water crisis of such a magnitude could occur here.

Before it was banned in 1978, lead paint was commonly used in homes. In St. Louis, which is dominated by older housing stock, lead contamination is still prevalent.
Abby Lanes | Flickr

Inspectors from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are in St. Louis for the next few months, making sure that contractors are following federal lead paint laws. Businesses with employees that do renovation, repair or painting work must ensure they are federally trained and certified. If they're not, companies could be fined up to $37,500 a day for each violation.

Camille Phillips/St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis and St. Louis County will be able to increase efforts to reduce the number of children in the region exposed to lead, thanks to grants donated Wednesday by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The city and county both received 2.5 million dollars from HUD, although $100,000 of the county’s grant is ear-marked for a separate initiative.

According to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay, the city’s grant will be primarily used to preemptively make 180 rental units safe from lead.

Courtesy Lead Safe America

The city of St. Louis has been working to reduce lead poisoning since the health department introduced a lead program in the 1940s. Since that time great strides have been made. But the danger of exposure to lead still exists in the city, and screenings reveal more than a thousand cases of elevated blood lead levels each year.

graphic about monthly WIC food supplements
Alex Sciuto | St. Louis Beacon 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Nothing speaks louder to a mother than a silent child.

When Larry Chavis was about 2, he'd sit in the middle of the floor in a room full of teddy bears, toy cars and trucks, but he didn't seem interested in playing with them. His perplexed mother, Achaia Robinson, sensed something wasn't quite right with her son; she was confused by his dazed look and his tendency to keep to himself.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: The lobby of the Winston Churchill Apartments at Cabanne and Belt avenues undoubtedly reminds some visitors of the elegance of a bygone era. It's a massive room with green and beige walls, a fireplace, eight comfortable sofas and lots of chairs, all on a shiny, marbled floor. The soft colors and quiet setting recall the time when the building and surrounding neighborhood were home to upper-middle class St. Louisans.

St. Louis is making great strides in its attack on childhood lead poisoning, according to statistics released Friday by the city's Health Department.

The report said the level of lead poisoning in children reached an all-time low of 3.2 percent in 2009. That represents an 80 percent drop in the number of children with elevated lead levels since 2001. At that time, the rate was 16.2 percent, health officials said.