WWL>Topics>>6-2-14 2:10pm Angela: on lead in the soil

6-2-14 2:10pm Angela: on lead in the soil

Jun 2, 2014|

Angela talks with Dr. Howard Mielke of the Tulane University School of Medicine and Phyllis Campo-Giuffre, LCSW, about the issue of lead contaminating soil in New Orleans.

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Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)

I'd like to thank our council people for once again coming on the show that last hour it means a lot they're busy people and yet they clearly have the sense that they want to respond to. The concerns of people so it means a lot and that's Jason Williams and LaToya Cantrell and they said that compact and we look forward to it. Now shortly after I moved to New Orleans in mid 1970. I became aware of the issue of lead poisoning. In those days it was the lead paint peeling off of New Orleans homes for decades ago into the soil. Where children played and would as children do what they're dirt covered hands in their -- I remember those early stories because it was understood that lead paint could or would affect the minds of those children. Now almost forty years later we're still grappling with -- in our soil and the effects of his head and continues to have on people. But we know so much more about what's in our soil. And for all the reasons it's there not just the lead based paint of the past. Because of the work of our very special guest. Doctor Howard W milky but the department of pharmacology. At the Tulane university school of medicine. Doctor -- has been studying lead dust in our soil for decades. And that includes studies done after Katrina. We have much to learn from him about the status of lead in our soil. What has changed what has not and what we have to do to protect ourselves. And later in the hour we will hear from Phyllis -- social worker who could talk on the human effects of lead poisoning. I think Q I think you both for being here and I'm going to start with you doctor milky because. I don't know why I am fascinated by this I think in great part because I was aware early on and we still -- the -- -- The the problem. Has. Then generated by the fact that there has been -- much -- that's been used by. In various products and the products of course include the lead based paint and also included -- using gasoline. And unfortunately. The lead in gasoline and that the the -- is visible but the the amount of lead that was used in gasoline was totally invisible. And it rained down upon our cities and accumulated according to traffic flow throughout the city. Not exclusive to New Orleans that we are one of the sort of centerpieces well we're the centerpiece because of the research that I have been doing down here it's not. Every other city should be mapped in the same we we do we have barriers to the mapping. That the actually the part of the federal government that really is good and mapping -- US Geological Survey. But they are prohibited from because of their mission. From doing work in urban environment. So as a result we are not getting the kind of maps that are necessary. To see the pattern within the city. So that you can do it make it visible so that you could even begin to start looking at the outcome of what happened -- -- -- that. Commit -- so you have done this man I've on the map and when did you begin this. My first map was of Baltimore Maryland. And so that was during the 1970s. With the mid 1970s. I think began the work a beacon in the work as a result of very interesting article that was published in environmental health perspectives. It turns out it was written by people. Who were working for the basically working for -- which was part of the -- institute term that led. Companies. A corporation especially. And they've said that all of the lead in -- was coming from lead based paint and I thought that -- uninteresting. Study to do we have Baltimore we have Baltimore which had bricks brick buildings in the entered the city. And painted buildings towards the outside of the city. And the results. That I got from that particular study indicated. That in fact it was there isn't a totally different process taking place to community it'll lead -- -- arm. Not just -- not just would expect -- did they still may lead based paint. Unfortunately it is still available at boat shops and it's used in -- very specialized way. Possibly automobile paints votes of those kinds of -- -- still have. And so as you were saying that is a visible thing chips off the house and we certainly have a New Orleans. Grand wonderful very old homes and so the paint chips and flies in -- in the grass and -- kids are playing and they put in their mouth and there -- ago. But the worst thing in the city of New Orleans that people were still standing in the paint. -- that turns. And that's when it really becomes a very hazardous material. And there are no restrictions or laws there are restrictions. The City Council -- wonderful ordinance. September's. Who was around seventh sixth or seventh. Of 2001. Guess what happened to all of the work that had been done in terms of trying to. Get the word out about lead based paint and stop standing. 9/11 -- It destroyed. The entire PR program that had been set up by City Council many stations were involved but. It just got wiped out and there's been no regrouping to put it back out there about don't saying well it it. -- really very little in what sanding is being done. In the name of -- that it's safe the political screen on the house. Well that means that all of the dust paint tests -- from the paint. Is going into the house that you're working on in my -- quote the neighbor's house but to end up concentrating it within that. The house of person who's having this work and and it's the maps and -- acts -- the match. How. I'm I'm just curious. Not to lead paint but the other issue of the lead in the gas and Nevada isn't allowed anymore. No led. The use of -- gasoline. Started coming down for as a result of some laws that were changed back in the early 1970s. Has new cars were coming on to the into the market they had catalytic converters. The lead is. Basically toxic to. Catalytic converter. It -- cause they called poisoning of the Catholic converter. And they didn't care about us but no -- emirates with the automobile parts so as new cars were being produced. Less than less let it scare swing was on the market the problem that we came up. With -- after about ten years. The old cars with catalytic converters people started. I'm taking out a little restrictor. That. Was there in order to prevent this fuel in the car so people started this fueling because. The leaded gasoline was used as a loss leader for gas and it would be the lowest number on them. -- on the board that I'm short on the sales soared and so what you ended up with then is a gradually there was an increasing amount of let -- back you know as a result of these supplies and -- and some of them and that. -- in the air right and it faults and we are inhaling it or goes on the ground as well. And we're just consuming it yet. That the all of that came to a head here and I was in Minnesota after I was able to remove moved back to Minnesota originally from and so. And I knew people in Minnesota and are -- the governor live right. Nearby. I -- the senate to diligently towards. And I started to get them involved it turns out the legislators. Voluntarily. Gave me soil samples from their backyards. And I have started to do a survey of the Twin Cities. And they were shocked at the amount of lead -- silent they're the guards and they -- with this coming from well. A good part of -- is coming from the use of lead and gasoline. The legislature then tried to ban these letting gasoline in the state of Minnesota. It turned out that was illegal to do. So the legislature. So upset about it they finally petitioned congress. To. -- take lead out of gasoline and I I was invited in by. -- the legislators and the people was working. Two. Testified before congress we had a very rapid phased out that took place at that and that's -- it and it. That's in the that was beginning liver very rapid reduction the final ending took place 1995. For. I'm leaded gasoline in vehicles. Highway vehicles. But it's still -- -- gasoline at Houston and piston aircraft that -- small. Small. I want everyone to stay with this world we're talking about something that is affecting all of our health and not to lesser and greater degrees and and we're talking to the man who is I'm sensing -- spent most of your life studying it and we're going to be talking to a woman who sees it every day. In not her clients. That the affects the brain damage of land stay with it. Doctor Howard -- has been talking about. Really his lifelong work in the study of led to and it's impact on our soil and in our lives. Both in Baltimore and Minnesota and the coming to New Orleans. And I'm sure what a field day sadly what a field day. And we're gonna go back to that because he's done studies before Katrina and after Katrina and what is happening. But I'd I'd like to reintroduce Phyllis Campo who was say clinical social worker and a forensic social worker who has worked with them. Probably untold numbers of people. Who have suffered the effects. Of -- so I kinda like you to take this there. What have you seen. Okay. -- been saying this for awhile just you know make the connection between the lead problem. And not have liked to talk a little bit about the cycle psychological implications. Of lead poisoning. On families. This is no analysis of this -- this very intimate and very good information there's a book by doctor Margaret -- -- I believe it came out in 1984. And she talks about the psychological birth. Which takes place at birth. And at and ends at H battery. By three years of age a child is supposed to be able to be. Bonded with the mother and then separated from the mother and -- for this to happen. That sound hashed to. I've had to tell really has to not pay a brain damaged because let me tell you what happens when that have let me tell you. How this goes a long. At birth the baby is gone and bonds with mama. If the channel came as a problem. The mother is going to have a problem with the child. My the -- I want to. That doesn't mean the mother won't love the -- the child the baby but. Lets you know Bill Cosby said -- best he said you know we we don't want when my children talked I mean we don't want reasoning going on we want peace. Want peace and why. And shots into him -- poisoning. -- peaceful. Their behavior from them and you're talking yet 12345. Absolutely as a matter of fact the earlier the damage to a child. The greater the possibility that it will be irreversible. Any damage that's done to a child over three because the channel is verbal. Will. Be able to be talked out in therapy. Will be -- talked out with friends. But until house three years old. Especially if it's pre verbal dynamics. It's kind of like the old the old commercial it's inning and that doesn't mean -- -- all right but it's certainly is going to take a lot of medication. Are you you've been a social worker for since 1988%. Yes for -- sit and think and you you have seen a lot. Yes and you first mark recognizing it as this could possibly could be damage to the brain from land yes mom I didn't know about the land. I am an annual and all of us who years ago that I know what this guy knows and now on I'm getting ready to move to a different plan. And them but tell me some of what you have seen in children and teenagers certainly there. I've seen children when children. Camp and kind of amateur whether it's depression why -- act -- And so consequently a lot of parents just -- think that they haven't a child is just. Honoring. -- and that's seldom McCain's. Now if there -- -- problems going on in the home. And went home doesn't have problems. That can be readily. -- and through the education of the parent. But when that she has a fiscal problem and we're beginning -- understand this morning. This -- thing is a physical problem he has nothing -- -- -- with the anything mama. Did didn't write it will like the blame the -- this. Asking both you and the doctor. How does it a blood test shows how much land south and. Definitely but. The blood lead testing now will restore and you realize. We've gone about this in a way that is believed. Unethical. And a big problem towards we're using our children. To measure the amount of lead in the environment. Here -- using them as bio indicators. And every country. That I've ever worked with that starting to realize that you have to figure out how to do primary prevention first place. The difficulty we have is that a very young child. His constantly putting their hands in their mouth it's required. It's part of the brain. Network to to begin with that's the way -- we're we're. Wired. And if -- environment. Has a lot of -- testament which unfortunately is the case and there -- some of our city and many cities across the country. What ends up happening is there. They're absorbing. The -- from the environment. Lead is following calcium. So it ends up. Either in the blood or eventually in the bones. And then it starts becoming a permanent problem. That comes back to more later in life. During periods for example of illness during periods where. There's stress. During periods of changing. You know pregnancy is one point and then of course -- Men applause -- what I call macho -- then you changing. Their third changes in the wind which bone is being absorbed or. -- basically. And when that happens. Blood lead levels I mean the the blood pressure goes up all sorts of things storage and structural team. Yeah and that may have the origin of what -- -- saying yes in this so so and the mother who takes the children to the park to play. Very innocent thinking isn't this fun not thinking in terms of you know and and kids do put their hands and their mouth all the time. All of a sudden behavior issues come forward and they're just thinking well this is my kid growing up. Right verses. This could be something more significant. And we had examples of that in the city in New Orleans there was a a group of women. Who we're going to a particular part they all had -- poison children. And they discovered that they're the blood lead levels of those children are increasing. There was the marquee park. Situation. And the city actually changed the park. And -- the blood lead levels and start to compact power again -- -- although what the parents and stopped going to park. But the park has been totally renovated and changed. And I think that's an important thing we're talking doom and gloom but there -- areas that can change and things that parents can be very alert for. We have a lot to talk about we're gonna go to the newsroom and get the news while we come back. We're gonna talk about studies that the doctor has done before Katrina and what changed after Katrina stay with this financial and other WL. We're talking with doctor Howard milky and Phyllis Campbell licensed counselor. About the effects of lead in our community. And done and how it affects children before we go back to the good -- from a to take the call David in saint Tammany. By outside -- to mention. A very important person in the area. Cash during the match doctor Mary Meeker and doctor Jerry can get out -- And use the Japanese youth church -- Every child. Before -- -- rule across the only tension now today. And then I was with the department of education and we -- many of their. And which it would be able to improve. The -- cherished or our children. And and today the Japanese look at. Real. Madness then in improving children. In testing. You know I'm so sorry -- I think doctor milky. Didn't hear you very beginning. You were talking about two other -- scientists who are studying -- could you give those names again. Doctor charity deal for. And doctor Mary -- doctor baker. About. Four years ago. And her test the structure of little. This year's worth of testing. -- It does change the huge store of autistic children. And so I guess what your really saying is for these children who are tested to in our area. That might have lead poisoning one can they get it out and pursue how how if it has affected your brain cannot be reversed. Well attended and etched its a shame because most of the that they. That person has the -- Majora audio -- -- -- are invalid. The result -- and -- And Dutch. You labels want across. Unfortunately it does give you. Trio of psychology. It's not that -- actually I don't. He's a doctoral. Quote psychology. The most watched it's not. Up to detailed -- -- But going back to the lead paint issue if that is a real chemical that has gotten into our system. And I think our brain. That is exact. But that's that is. Physical. Not psychological. Okay. I really appreciate your call -- very very much thank you for listening as well. They'll thank you and there's been a lot of discussion about for example what are called Q leading agents these are the agents that there. Used to bring the blood lead levels down forward. Anybody's been exposed. And some major work was done with the best known accumulating agent. Back in the early. 2000. Was published and what they discovered is that. -- leading agents. While they did bring the blood that pulled Stan didn't really change the behaviors of the children and it was that. Dismal failure and they started realizing that the only way we have we can approach this problem. It is through primary prevention trying to prevent the child from getting exposed the first -- That makes tremendous sense let's go over quickly but more what was the case prior to Katrina in your study and did it change. After all that water. Well the the blood lead levels that changed enormously -- what we did this week. Divided the city up into two areas. An area of the city that had. Hi. Let according to our understanding of it. Hundred parts per million. And lower led below hundred parts per minute. And what we saw in the city was that in the the pilot areas of the city. The number of children that reached more over five part micrograms -- deaths later this is sort of the the numbers now that is being recognized as it were trying to get every child below that. Well it changed -- 58%. Over half the children almost 60% of the children. Had bullet at levels. Above five micrograms -- deaths later and that and underwent a reduction to 29% almost. After the storm after the storm in the in the -- -- areas of the city OK and and that was attributed to the water. And there -- a number of things that took place. There seems to be a natural reduction occurring. As a result of having remove lead from gasoline and it's starting to. Dissipate a bit. And the water that came into the city. It turns out that it carried a lot of sediment into the city that was cleaner material was here in the first place and we've noticed. It is surveyed. Before and after Katrina or after Katrina we. Collected samples that there was a reduction in many other. The census tracts in where there were reductions we also slow reduction in the amount of lead in the environment. We also -- reductions in the appointment of the children living and knows there. And so. That it's kind of difficult because. You worry about whether it's the same population and other popular. But there are other changes that are taking place in the city since Katrina that are really important. Now we've been doing some work on child care center properties. The child care center properties were being looked at by the state. They're considering interior of the implement. Of the child care center but they did not paid any attention to the outside. And we have been working on the outside environment. Doesn't make any sense to have a child playing inside in a clean. Really good environment. And then being put outside intuit hazardous waste and that's what we're seeing in the city of new war on cases. And so we're trying to do something about that. The best work that's been done and the most extensive work in addition to the the the city's involvement in. Doing some work on parks has been what Hud and and have done. The big four have. Totally different about -- that in this. Yeah about a minute from environment from the development to the new development of new developments yes. Not only have the houses been changed but the informant around those houses of that so what used to be. The public housing. Median used to be around 400. Parts from him and half the samples are -- that have hello after right now. It's forty so. Big changes taking place at large yours of the city and if anybody tells me you couldn't possibly changed the city. It's. We can change proof it's been it's been done in and it's been done not necessarily just for the lead but. Just as part of the landscape in that list and it has Atlantis. That is excellent news we're gonna have to ignite the break everybody stay with the -- Angela on -- WL we're gonna talk about again the effects on children and life. -- Again our special guest doctor Howard milky and Phyllis camp -- talking about the lead in our soil. The the good news is that it is a little less in and major lessons some areas but it's still exist and I'm looking at a map. And I see a lot in the marinade and by water area that thing. Garden District a little bit in the central city mid city. It continues to affect lives and to the good doctor. People on all kinds of web sites and that's what we would -- the fourth you're listening -- you really wanna know more. There is a website you go to certainly to doctor Howard milky MI EL KE. And you'll find some there's another one Louisiana land land dot com. That will also show. All kinds of things. What we're trying to -- here is here isn't here is an issue that has been around a long time people are working on it it does affect children. And it affects children in the brain and affects their behavior. But it's not an impossible thing to get. -- Possibly very difficult to get rid of and it his. Good nutrition and certainly is very helpful. Especially for child China the children of animals well. The children grow up -- -- does their behavior become violent does that -- what this is one of the problems that we've started to realize that adults. Has who have been screened there. And sir have been -- poisoned have been compared with adults who have not -- -- poisoned they've looked at MR eyes of the brain. And with the discovers that led poisoned. The -- adults who were -- poisonous children have shrunk in parts of the brain that are very important parts of the very. The pre frontal cortex -- one parts of the brain. Which affects. All decision making. -- of -- and decision making and that that is a physical. Damage to the brain. Very difficult to figure out how to -- The you know behavioral controls the other -- One of the things -- wanted to mention is that I have worked with families in which they the city Austin would send me the case that they just he couldn't figure out where the lead was coming from. And business of a child who has -- poisoned for very high exposures. I'd worked with family we took samples from outside. That had never been done before and it was hazardous site they put a deck and there. Back of their house. And that was their decision and where and they did that the blood lead levels came down so fast that it was remarkable to the pediatrician. And the other aspect of which Phyllis would love. To hear about. Is that the family. When they came back to me they said our child and so fun to be -- Before that it was it was a child that was out of control that could never sit down and play games they couldn't do anything. Together. And this is true and. And if the -- if that is not. If the problem isn't some. Then we see it in that population of that the criminal. I also do forensic for a social work. And they backed allies have actually use this kind of information form mediation. In death penalty trials. So. You are seeing prisoners. And so one of the effects could be from this yes and the heiress. There's a certain type of behavior at that I would just love to see some research done on certain. Particular. President. Because the irony of it is the justice system makes no allowances. For this type of thing. I it has nothing to do with -- insanity defense. As long is the defendant knows right from wrong. It is interest and no it isn't even dealt with until the penalty face. Let's talk about. Prevention. What can people do that you were talking in the commercial and go to hardware store and get -- little kit. Yes it's called it -- I think there's kits which basically you contest. The paint. Dust. -- for. It went up by 3 am. OK and so you can do that in your house because as you if -- six earlier now that they're discouraging people from sample testing outside. They have to shields but the stuff presents so -- -- got to check -- And that the also the it's certainly the outside -- Keeping a child away from the side of the building would be very important. Having players away from buildings as much lower net. But. One of the really. Important things to do is take your shoes off at the door. So that she's not tracking the lead into the interior because what we're seeing is much -- lead levels. Outside than we accept that forum as a standard on the inside. And that that makes it. It gives us some opportunities to do other things in terms of improving the player. I wish we had ten more hours on this because I think it's vitally important but I wanna say that Phyllis Campo is going to give free seminars and free. Volunteer group sessions for parents who have children that are suffering. Her phone number is 88824038. Dating 2403. This is an effort to say this affects family dynamics. You're not alone and you can get some help. I cannot thank you both doctor milky for all the work that you have done and continue to do and Phyllis for everything you were doing as well. We will we will address this again because this is vitally important especially in our area. -- -- Everyone stay with this. This is the suspect this is scary thing we'll be right back. Stay with this we're going to be talking with our sports experts. T Bob and Bobby. LB stay with its.