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Children's Health

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Government Starts Probe of Hopkins Lead Paint Study


While declining to respond to WebMD's calls, the Kennedy Kreiger Institute said in a statement it didn't injure those involved in the experiment. "The study provided for every child to live in an improved environment that they would have otherwise. In this improved environment, the risk of lead poisoning was reduced for each and every child," according to the statement.

Kennedy Kreiger specializes in helping children overcome problems associated with childhood lead poisoning. It's estimated that in Baltimore alone, more than 100,000 homes have lead paint. Some 4,000 Maryland children annually are identified as having high levels of lead in their blood.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency originally funded the lead cleanup research for $200,000 in hopes of finding cheaper ways of reducing lead in house dust. Yet the problem persists.

Nationally, it's believed that lead poisoning afflicts as many as 900,000 children, leaving them with learning disabilities and other mental problems. Experts say, however, that the situation could be corrected by making homes lead-safe. And that is a relatively inexpensive proposition, says Jerome Paulson, MD, associate professor of health care sciences and pediatrics at The George Washington University Medical Center.

"It's where public policy should go in the United States if we are ever going to end the problem of lead-poisoned kids," Paulson tells WebMD. "If we continue to just screen kids, and therefore identify them once they have become poisoned, then we're never really going to get rid of this problem."

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