Last year, a six-year-old Philadelphia student was hospitalized with blood lead levels nine times higher than the amount believed to cause permanent brain damage. He had eaten lead paint chips off of his desk while at his local elementary school.

Now, Philadelphia City Council has taken action by passing legislation on Dec. 4 that sets standards for the removal of lead paint in schools and informing parents, teachers and school workers of lead paint remediation. The legislation, now the strongest standards in the U.S., also sets comprehensive standards for ongoing control of damaged lead paint and cleanup of lead dust and chips in schools.

“Most parents are shocked to learn how few measures are in place to protect children from lead paint in the place where they spend most of their waking hours—school buildings,” said David Masur, PennEnvironment executive director, member of Philadelphia Healthy School Initiative and parent of two Philadelphia School District students.

The legislation is being praised as the most comprehensive in the country and was signed into law on Jan. 22 by Mayor Kenney.

Photo: Philadelphia has set comprehensive standards for the removal of lead paint, paint chips and dust in schools. Credit: Public Domain.