UPAL National

In 2004 UPAL National received a LEAP grant from U.S. Department of Housing of Urban Development. Lead Elimination Action Program

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Lead Facts

Lead Facts and Awareness
Lead Poisoning: chronic intoxication that is produced by the absorption of lead into the system and is characterized by severe colicky pains, a dark line along the gums, and local muscular paralysis - Webster’s

Lead Toxicity or Lead Poisoning is a preventable, man-made disease. LEAD is a neurotoxin- LEAD poisons the brain. LEAD is a heavy metal that offers absolutely no benefits to the human body. Exposure to LEAD has been positively associated with hearing loss, severe hypertension/high blood pressure, delinquency, criminal behavior, kidney damage, nerve damage, brain damage, insanity and DEATH.

Childhood lead poisoning was first describe around 100 years ago in Brisbane, Australia. The first cases of childhood lead poisoning in the United States were reported in 1917. Today childhood lead poisoning has reached epidemic proportions. Lead Poisoning is the most common and devastating environmental disease among young children.  Most lead poisoned children do not exhibit any obvious symptoms and most cases go undiagnosed. All children form birth through age six should be tested for lead. INSIST that your pediatrician conduct routine testing. Don't delay, have your child (ren) tested today!

Established in 1996, United Parents Against Lead (UPAL National) is a networking organization of and for parents of lead poisoned children dedicated to ending the continuing threat of lead poisoning through education, advocacy and resource referral. Formed by parents of lead poisoned children, UPAL National's mission is to provide education and information that will empower parents to make informed decisions. UPAL National is a National 5013 nonprofit organization headquartered in Richmond, Virginia.

In the state of Virginia there are upwards of 25,000 children affected by lead, 1 million in the United States. UPAL National works with families of lead poisoned children by providing assistance with relocation, educational and medical needs.

UPAL National’s national director, Zakia Shabazz, has written a book entitled “A Child is a Terrible Thing to Waste” which chronicles her family’s experience with and triumphant over lead poisoning.

Lead Poisoning Facts

  • The Centers of Disease Control lists lead poisoning as one of the most serious environmental health threats to children.
  • Nearly 1 million U.S. children of all ages, and 435,000 children aged 1-5 have been diagnosed with dangerously elevated lead blood levels.
  • About 25% of the U.S. housing stock-about 24 million homes-are estimated to contain significant lead poisoning hazards; about 4 million of these are homes to one or more young children.
  • Lead is a neurotoxin that collects in the bones and causes permanent, irreversible brain damage and other health problems such as seizures, hearing impairment, blindness, and coma-it can also be fatal.
  • Children under the age of 6 are the most vulnerable to lead poisoning effects, and those ingesting significant amounts of lead dust face a lifetime of attention deficit, hyperactivity and behavioral problems.
  • Studies have shown significant health and learning problems can result from lead blood levels well below the federal health concern level of 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood, and that lower levels of lead exposure have been linked to lower intelligence and violent behavior.
  • While 4.4% of children nationally have elevated lead blood levels, the problem is much more acute for low-income and minority living in older homes: for instance, 22% of African American and 13% of Mexican-American children living in homes built before 1946 have lead poisoning; and in some "hot zone" neighborhoods the percentage can reach 60-70%.
  • A recent study by the University of Pittsburgh found that boys with high bone-lead levels are significantly more likely to exhibit aggressive and delinquent behavior by the time criminally delinquent youth were 4 times more likely to have high lead blood levels.
  • The risk for dropping out of school is 6 times higher for children with high lead blood levels, according to one study
  • Lead Poisoning is 100% preventable


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