Despite Being Banned for Decades, Lead Paint Still Makes Thousands of L.A. County Kids Sick

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During his pediatrics residency training at a hospital in Hollywood, Dr. David Bolour rarely gave a second thought to lead poisoning.

Lead paint had been banned since before the 36-year-old doctor was born. Children being harmed by the once-ubiquitous metal was a thing of the past, he thought.

But when he started as a pediatrician in 2015 at St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in South Los Angeles, Bolour began testing every child who came in for lead poisoning. And he learned that about 1 out of 100 had elevated lead levels, he said.

Public health officials consider even low levels of lead found in a child’s blood to be lead poisoning, since studies have linked just small amounts of lead exposure to irreversible brain damage and stunted development in kids.

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