I write less about it these days, but lead paint continues to have my attention. Lead Safe St. Louis, the City’s program, has made measurable progress. According to the Lead Safe program’s directors, the percentage of children who test positive for elevated lead levels in their blood has dropped from 16 percent in 2001 to 3.7 percent last year and it is on track to be 3.02 percent this year.
The return of students to classrooms in the St. Louis Public School District has reminded some readers about the lead paint issue in the school district’s generally older buildings. Their question: what is going on to address lead paint in public schools?
Here is what I have answered. Although SLPS governance and budgeting are independent of municipal government, there has been plenty of cooperation. The Lead Safe St. Louis team has trained school custodians and maintenance crew members in lead-safe work practices, so that work done in schools will not contaminate classrooms with lead chips and dust. The City has also provided the public school district with an analysis of the work that must be accomplished to make the district safe. And the district has used that study to create a project plan and has allocated resources this budget year to address the problem.