One Friday afternoon, five of us met around a table: four representatives of our neighborhood organization and the South Bend, Ind., mayor’s deputy chief of staff. Those of us from the neighborhood had been working together for more than a year to address the issue of lead poisoning.
New data had been released 15 months earlier. We learned more than 30 percent of neighborhood children tested over a 10-year period had elevated blood lead levels. Before 1978, American paint companies were allowed to use lead in their paint, though European countries had banned the practice more than 30 years earlier.