Lead, Children and Crime – Should Municipalities Act
After pesticides, what about lead?
When the Supreme Court of Canada recognized municipal jurisdiction to regulate the cosmetic use of pesticides,1 it opened the door for municipalities to regulate other major contaminants that affect residents’ health and safety. Of these, one of the best known toxins is lead, and it’s one that municipalities could do a lot about.
There are many good reasons to reduce human exposure to lead. For example, the David Suzuki Foundation recently released a report, with the support of the Canadian Public Health Association: Prescription For a Healthy Canada: Towards a National Environmental Health Strategy. It says:
Lead is a highly toxic heavy metal, once used in paint, gasoline, PVC, and pipes. Lead is still used in the production of batteries, ammunition, metal products (solder and pipes), jewellery, devices to shield X-rays, and computer monitors (to block radiation). Lead poisoning causes a range of chronic health effects. Lead exposure in children can cause cognitive deficits, developmental delays, hypertension, impaired hearing, attention deficit disorder, reduced intelligence, and learning disabilities. In the elderly, accumulated lead is released into the blood, contributing to various health effects, including cataracts, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, other forms of dementia, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and impaired kidney function.2