As I am mentally preparing to move to Portland in a couple years for school, I am virtually scoping out the joint. I will have to know how to commute (turns out no one knows how to drive in snow there), where to have Wallace go to preschool, how to find a good place to rent, and how to find a community and friends.
I came across a neat site called urbanMama and an interview with Tamara Rubin from Lead Safe America. What I love about this interview is that it is a conversation between three parents about a serious topic. They explain what the problem is and why we should all be concerned about it. Lead is not only found in paint chips and windowsills of the old houses of poor people. It is still used in manufacturing all over the world and is in Christmas decorations, dishes, home goods, and food, and so much more.
I found Tamara a while ago on Facebook and her research and dedication has blown my mind. They sent me free lead tests when I was concerned about Wallace sticking his hands all over the radiators (he learned hot and cold real quick) and couldn’t afford to buy my own. Thankfully they tested negative but an army trunk I have is positive. (It has been moved out of the way and covered but I need to just throw it out after writing “Lead Paint!!!” all over it in Sharpie.)
Besides needing funding for the movie production and payroll so her family can survive – donate here – her current struggle is getting her lead poisoned ten year old enrolled in a safe school. All of the public schools in Portland that the district has recommended have high levels of lead. That isn’t okay for anyone, but especially a child with previous lead poisoning or a medically fragile child. They have started a petition to get the school district funds to clean up these schools so all children are safe. Please go sign the petition. Lead in schools is a problem everywhere, like here in chicago where old buildings are repurposed, vintage is cool, and I haven’t seen a public school that was built after 1978.
Here is your job – educate yourself on lead, get your child tested, follow Tamara’s facebook page, sign the petition, and, the hardest of all, challenge yourself to take a good look at your home and the things in it.