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Indybay Feature
Sat Jan 14 2017 (Updated 01/16/17)
Fruitvale District Has Highest Levels of Lead Poisoning in California
Lead Poisoning in Oakland's Fruitvale District Is Worse Than Flint
Toxic lead levels are dangerously high in Oakland’s Fruitvale district, which has the highest level of contamination in California and are worse than in Flint, Michigan, according to a national report recently published by Reuters. Unlike Flint’s contaminated water crisis, which caught national attention in 2015, Oakland’s lead is not in the water system but is coming from old buildings and chipping paint that is getting into the dirt and being tossed up in the wind. The result is that 7.57 percent of children under the age of seven who were tested have high levels of lead in their blood.

A lot of tenants are afraid to inform their landlords of unsafe living conditions for fear of retaliation. Larry Brooks, director of the Alameda County Healthy Homes Department, says that it is imperative for residents and property owners to notify officials if they believe lead is a problem in their home. “If you’re seeing deteriorating paint and the building was built prior to 1978, there’s a good chance that the peeling paint probably has lead in it,” Brooks told the Oakland Post. “Contact your landlord and let them know that there’s deteriorating paint and that you’re concerned,” he said. “They can hire people who do lead investigation services and can take sample paint to do risk assessments.”

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