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Coop Fed Takes a Stand On Childhood Lead Poisoning

In March, the Cooperative Federal Board of Directors endorsed a resolution supporting the campaign to end childhood lead poisoning in Onondaga County. Our credit union's leadership is passionate about this community issue, which is a matter of public health - as well as racial and economic equity. You can read the resolution below, and learn more here.

We are proud to stand alongside the other endorsers of this resolution, which to date include the CNY Rise Center, Democratic Socialists of America - Syracuse Chapter, and Legal Services of Central New York.

As part of the Board's endorsement, they also passed a motion to donate 100% of our April new member fees to this campaign. If you or a friend have been waiting to join Coop Fed, now is the time to sign up!

image: Courtesy Onondaga County Health Department. Census tracts 23 and 54 will be the focus of the Community Foundation's initial efforts to mitigate lead in homes. In tract 23, more than 21 percent of children tested had high lead levels. It's home to a large refugee population. In tract 54, over 24 percent presented with high lead levels. More than 46 percent of residents in this tract live below the poverty line.

Community Leadership Resolution Ending Childhood Lead Poisoning in Onondaga County

Section I

WHEREAS we citizens, parents and guardians, non-profit and neighborhood group leaders, as well as government officials within Onondaga County, are deeply concerned about improving the health, safety, and developmental potential for all of our community’s children;

WHEREAS we recognize that childhood lead poisoning is unacceptable in any economic, political, and moral sense to a society that values its children and their well-being[i];

WHEREAS the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined in 2012 that there is no safe blood lead level[ii];

WHEREAS cases of childhood lead poisoning have, prior to 2017, exceeded 700 children per year in Onondaga County for more than a decade[iii];

Section II

WHEREAS lead poisoning has considerable and well-documented health effects, many of which can negatively affect a child’s ability to succeed in school and to achieve their full earnings potential throughout adulthood[iv];

WHEREAS lead hazards disproportionately poison urban, poor, and minority children[v], making worse the problems of economic inequality already affecting the well-being of Onondaga County’s poorest communities and families[vi];

WHEREAS studies repeatedly demonstrate that investing in lead hazard control is economical, especially considering the long term social costs, lost earnings potential, lost tax revenue, and cumulative medical costs from childhood lead poisoning[vii];

WHEREAS lead poisoning is an environmental justice issue that requires a collective impact approach firmly grounded in inclusion and racial equity[viii];

WHEREAS the principles of environmental justice[ix] embrace the right of affected communities to participate as equal partners in every level of decision-making surrounding the solutions advanced to end childhood lead poisoning, such as needs assessment, policy development, policy implementation, and policy enforcement;

Section III

BE IT THEREFORE RESOLVED that we, the undersigned, believe that all of our community’s children deserve the opportunity to grow up in lead safe environments; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we support the development of a non-profit, independently funded, nonpartisan County-wide Coalition for Resilience and the Prevention of Lead Poisoning that incorporates the principles and practices of inclusion, equity, environmental justice, and community resilience; BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we support the development and vigorous implementation of a community-determined lead poisoning prevention ordinance in the City of Syracuse that will drastically reduce cases of elevated blood lead levels among all children of Onondaga County by or before the year 2025.

Citations

[i] Korfmacher, Katrina. “the Costs and Benefits of Preventing Lead Exposure – Putting Economics into the Picture.” PEPH Webinar May 7, 2014. PPT. Slide #32 (“Economics=Cost Benefit Analysis?”)

[ii] Bronson, Katie et al. Get the Lead Out: The Greater Syracuse Lead Prevention Action Plan. Home Headquarters and Green and Healthy Homes Initiative of Greater Syracuse: Syracuse, New York, 2018. Page 5, paragraph 3.­

[iii] Sandra D. Lane et al. “Neighborhood Violence Due to Trauma: A Multilevel Analysis.”p. 451. The exact numbers aren’t stated, but the high percentages suggest it; Also: Onondaga County Health Department – results for 2015, 2016, 2017; Indu Gupta. Letter to the Editor. “Blood lead levels in Syracuse New York. Journal of Pediatrics. Vol. 175. August 2016

[iv] Bronson, Katie et al. Get the Lead Out: The Greater Syracuse Lead Prevention Action Plan. Home Headquarters and Green and Healthy Homes Initiative of Greater Syracuse: Syracuse, New York, 2018. Pages 5 – 7.

[v] Ibid. p. 7. “Environmental Injustice.”

[vi] A sign of empathetic responsiveness toward those whose lives we claim to be able to improve. [vii] Bronson, Katie et al. Get the Lead Out: The Greater Syracuse Lead Prevention Action Plan. Home Headquarters and Green and Healthy Homes Initiative of Greater Syracuse: Syracuse, New York, 2018. Page 7.; Katrina Korfmacher (2003) cited in Gould, Elise. “Childhood Lead Poisoning: Conservative Estimates of the Social and Economic Benefits of Lead Hazard Control.” Environmental Health Perspectives. Vol. 117. No. 7. July 2009.

[viii] Report of the Michigan Civil Rights Commission. 2/17/2017. “The Flint Water Crisis: Systemic Racism Through the Lens of Flint.” P. 93. Citing Professor Robert D. Bullard: “Bullard has stated that environmental racism includes…the systematic exclusion of people of color from leadership roles in decisions regarding the production of environmental conditions that affect their lives and livelihoods.”

[ix] “Principles of Environmental Justice.” Published by EJnet.org. Adopted at the First National People of Color Environmental Leadership Summit held on October 24-27, 1991, in Washington DC.