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December 30, 2007

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Lead painted states have a tough time growing their economies – surprise, surprise!

Like many other states and communities struggling with the heavy burden of lead paint, these are certainly tough times for Rhode Island. However, we should not confuse correlation with causation in your posting. There are many causes of the fiscal mess in which Rhode Island finds itself stuck – including those that are connected to the nuisance of lead paint.

Being among the states with the oldest, most heavily leaded housing stocks in the country plays a significant role in Rhode Island’s present economic ills. It is easy to see why college grads would want to flee the state. It is expensive to find housing to safely raise a family in a state where 80 percent of the housing stock is old enough to contain lead paint.

The challenges faced by the state’s school systems may also be rooted in the state’s history of lead poisoning. It takes decades of educational remediation to attempt to reverse the damage done by childhood lead poisoning. It is interesting to note that the Rhode Island communities that have the worst performing school systems are precisely the ones with the highest rates of lead poisoned infants a decade ago.

Again, let's not confuse the symptoms with the disease. It shouldn’t be a surprise that a poor economic climate can be found in a state with more than its fair share of the heavy burden lead paint.

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