LEAD Action News
Vol 2 no 3
Report from Washington DC
The two Washington DC lead conferences held in mid May 1994 were a success from start to finish, and beyond. Both were hosted by the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning (AECLP) - an advocacy organisation like The LEAD Group except that AECLP employs nine people including a professor of environmental law! The travel fellowship they awarded me paid for accommodation, travel and conference fees. A big thankyou to James Rochow and the team at AECLP for their hospitality.
First there was a three day United States national conference the focus of which was Lead-Safe Housing (remember - they've eliminated the problem of lead in petrol in the US so they can afford to concentrate their efforts on paint). The conference allowed opportunities for all the stakeholders to work out possible means of co housing. The identified stakeholders included:
It was a wonderful feeling to be surrounded by 1,200 people who are paid and recognised for doing in the US what a handful of volunteers do in Australia.
There was great excitement at the national conference around the issue of the proposed Lead-Based Paint Hazard Abatement Trust Fund Act. This bill is designed to raise sufficient funds to make federal subsidies available to low-income private housing owners, day-care providers and state and local governments to allow the expansion of childhood lead poisoning prevention efforts (abatement of lead paint hazards). The bill pays for itself through a "polluter pays" excise fee on lead raising $1 billion per year. The excise fee of 45 cents per pound is applied to lead as it is introduced into commerce (from primary and secondary smelters and via the import of lead and lead-containing products). It would add about $8 to the price of a car battery. (See flier opposite.)
Networking successes of the national conference included the setting up of United Parents Against Lead (UPAL). This new advocacy group for parents might have been called National Parents Against Lead except that I pointed out the potential for making it an international group, by a simple change in the title. It was wonderful meeting other parents of lead poisoned children who had worked so imaginatively and fruitfully to prevent lead poisoning of other people's children. (See poems by leading light Maurci Jackson, from the first UPAL newsletter in this issue of LEAD Action News.)
A two-day international conference "The Global Dimensions of Lead Poisoning" immediately followed the national conference and was attended by 250 delegates from 30 countries.
My proposal, to set up an international network, via the internet, of researchers and people working to prevent childhood lead poisoning, was well accepted. I envisaged my role (after learning how to surf the net) as being to possibly edit the info coming down the line and produce an international version of this style of newsletter which would then be posted (snail-mailed) to parents organisations and agencies in developing countries not yet connected to the internet. All input and suggestions gratefully accepted.§
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Updated 12 November 2012