Trenton Mayor Palmer Utilizes USCM/Dupont CUSP $100,000 Lead-Safe...For Kids' Sake Grant Award To Institute Lead'safety Initiatives
By Ellen H. King
September 29, 2003
Awarded the 2002 USCM/DuPont Cities United for Science Progress (CUSP) Lead-Safe...For Kids' Sake $100,000 grant in 2002, the city of Trenton has taken great strides in its efforts to create a lead'safe community. CUSP, a partnership of the USCM and DuPont, has awarded over $1 million to 11 cities for their proposals to create lead'safe environments through the Lead-Safe...For Kids' Sake Grant Program. In Trenton, Mayor Douglas Palmer spearheaded the distribution of grant funds within his city by funneling funds into the Trenton Division of Health (TDOH) to expand its Trenton Loves Children (TLC) Lead Prevention Initiative.
The New York Times in August wrote that increased testing in the Trenton area has resulted in only 3.2 percent of children under 2 testing positive for elevated blood lead levels a significant drop from the 3.8 percent reported in 2001.
"Cities are centers of history," said Palmer. "But due to that age, some of our older buildings contain lead-based paint. The nation's urban mayors need to step-up screening efforts and develop innovative programs to remove lead. Our program is like detective work: an epidemiological investigation can pinpoint where the lead is in the child's environment and then we can remove it."
Faced with the challenge of having over 18 percent of children tested as being at-risk for lead poisoning in 2002, Trenton invoked Lead-Safe...For Kids' Sake grant funds to tackle the pressing risk of lead-exposure in Trenton children. By applying the critically needed grant funds, Trenton screened approximately 1,000 children for lead exposure, revised and updated new lead prevention materials for parents and child care workers, initiated home visiting referrals for children with lead poisoning levels, contacted community agencies to establish working relationships regarding lead prevention efforts and refined the Trenton preschool lead prevention initiative Leady Bear Program.
"The progress Trenton has made in reducing the risk of lead exposure to children in just a year is highly admirable," commented Conference Executive Director Tom Cochran. "We are proud to have had the opportunity to contribute to a part of that success through our Lead-Safe...For Kids' Sake Grant Program."
A focal point of the project for the 2003-2004 school year, will be the continued efforts to involve families and community child-care centers in spreading the word about lead poisoning prevention. Trenton will begin this process by reaching out to 40 citywide licensed centers to host presentations of the Leady Bear Program. The initiative is estimated to reach a total of 3,000 children between the ages of 0-5 if brought to all 40 centers. Currently, the program has been invited to present at half of the centers reaching 1,200 children.
As part of the Initiative, Trenton will be launching a campaign called "Do You Know Your Child's Lead Number?" The campaign will work to further educate parents about the importance of screening their children. Parents will be taught how to gauge and write their child's lead number and will be given informational materials providing critical information on screening intervals and interpretation of their child's lead exposure results.
"Trenton has applied innovative techniques that have undoubtedly resulted in change," said Public Affairs Manager Mary Kate Campbell. "The lives of many children are being directly impacted due to Trenton's diligence in providing a safe environment for all its residents."
To learn more about the Lead-Safe...For Kids' Sake Grant Program or to learn how to bring the CUSP partnership to your city, please contact CUSP Managing Director Ellen H. King by phone at 202-861-6798 or by e-mail to email@example.com.