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Letter: Buffalo can help children by tackling lead poisoning

Buffalo can help children by tackling lead poisoning

I remember growing up in Buffalo and watching the Telethon for Children’s Hospital. My mom would let me try to stay up all night in solidarity with the broadcasters who also stayed up all night. I had my blanket and pillow by the TV and usually fell asleep by 11 p.m. I would, though, wake up around 3 a.m., and there would be an exhausted semi-celebrity trying to keep the enthusiasm going when most watchers were asleep. To accomplish this, he or she would sing, “What the World Needs Now is Love, Sweet Love.”

Lately, Buffalo has been asleep on a critically important children’s issue. I read a News article that estimated some 300 Buffalo children per year are affected by lead poisoning. The article said some consider Buffalo ground zero for lead poisoning. These children often suffer incurable symptoms, which can include cognitive impairments, poor impulse control and overall poor health. Add to this poverty, and the picture is bleak.

Local governments may be reluctant to legislate because the cost of interior abatement would cripple property owners in already blighted neighborhoods, though I learned Erie County has been doing important work on exterior abatement.

It’s a political hot potato.

Lead poisoning is a serious children’s disease we can completely cure with prevention. Let’s find a way to do what Buffalonians do best – care for these children with love, sweet love.

Norman Bonk Jr.


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