In a world divided over a thousand different arguments related to government oversight and regulation, we should all be thankful for the fact that it is no longer - officially worldwide as of September of this year - legal for leaded gasoline to be
In a world divided over a thousand different arguments related to government oversight and regulation, we should all be thankful for the fact that it is no longer — officially worldwide as of September of this year — legal for leaded gasoline to be pumped into our air from the exhaust pipes of vehicles. Aerosolized lead created as the result of combusted gasoline is perhaps one of the most prevalent means of self-harm ever devised from a laboratory, and it took decades of clear scientific evidence connecting terrible health outcomes from those exposed to such elements to finally end the practice here in the U.S., and much longer for those in developing nations. The consequences of this practice have been linked to incidents of horrendous violence, among other societal ills. This is one of those rare occasions where everyone should be able to agree that it is nice to have federally-employed regulators keeping an eye on things and making sure we’re not breathing in literal poison each day that we commute to work. But even in a world of unparalleled technological advance, our society is not free from the dangers of lead. Lead-based paint and lead-laden utility pipes remain all too ingrained in infrastructure throughout our residential and commercial landscape — a sad reminder of the snail’s pace at which we are able to upgrade and update our systems in comparison to updating laws that dictate our world. We are thankful to have advocates keeping an eye out for this issue, such as Senator Jack Reed, who has led efforts to continue finding money to phase out these toxic components within our homes, businesses and municipal buildings. Any amount of exposure to lead can create permanent behavioral and physical health problems, and therefore any risk of avoidable lead exposure in children and adults today is unacceptable. While the science may be concluded, it will take these types of continuing efforts to ensure that we close the loop on the toxic use of lead and safeguard many thousands from unnecessary harm. We recommend that you get your own home tested for the presence of lead. Many homes in Rhode Island are beautifully constructed and maintained relics of the past — a good number of them 100 years old and older. Never take for granted or assume that they have been properly abated of lead pipes or lead paint. We have seen the lengths that parents are willing to go to protect their children from potential harm. But whereas the risks of a vaccine relies on dubious scientific skepticism, the risks from lead poisoning are much more well understood and documented. It is better to be safe than sorry.
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