City council committee approves bills to protect from lead exposure

The City Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services moved forward a package of three bills targeting the continuing threat of lead to the health and safety of young people.

FOX 29's Bruce Gordon shares one family's story.

9-year-old Jalen Absolum  should be in fourth grade. But he is only in second. He cannot read, spell or follow most commands.

Avril Stewart Absolum says her boy was poisoned by eating chips of lead in paint peeling from the windows of the family's rented Philly rowhouse when he was just a toddler. When Jalen's development slowed Avril had him tested. She says it was the lead paint. He will likely never catch up to his peers.

"We don't know if he is ever going to be able to finish high school let alone college. So we actually don't know what his life will be," his mother told FOX 29. 

On Wednesday city council's committee on public health okayed a package of legislation aimed at eradicating lead paint poisoning in the city--putting pressure on Philadelphia's landlords, schools and those who run small in-home daycares, to report and remediate  lead paint issues. It's a beginning but Philadelphia's health commissioner admits laws already on the books are not always enforced.

Avril says she's glad the rules are being toughened. She just wishes she knew more about the dangers of lead paint before it was too late.

 "It feels as if we were robbed. He was robbed of his potential," she said. 

 

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