The struggle of a mother with a lead-poisoned child

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Mother to testify Saturday, March 26, 2011, at Imagine Englewood if’s Town Hall Meeting


Patricia Robinson’s son suffered from lead-poisoning levels four times greater than the City of Chicago’s definition of lead poisoning, and is now learning disabled.  City health inspectors found lead problems everywhere in the home, which drove Pat to send her son out of the country until it was safe for him to return.  By the time he got back, the lead poisoning had already begun to affect his development and comprehension.  A child’s life has been decimated; his future stolen. This is everyday life in Englewood.

Pat will testify about her heartbreaking struggle at Imagine Englewood if’s Town-Hall Meeting entitled, “Lead Poisoning:  Who Speaks for the Children, Our Future?”, Saturday, March 26, 2011 at 3:00 p.m.  She will be joined by State Senator Mattie Hunter and State Representative Esther Golar who will lead a roundtable discussion of remedies to strengthen and improve current lead-prevention laws toward increased screenings and treatment for the children of Englewood.  Greater Englewood has one of the highest rates of childhood lead poisoning in the nation. 

 According to the Department of Public Health, 567 of Englewood’s children, ages 0-6, were recorded with elevated lead blood levels in 2008.  CDPH’s figures for 2009 report that 4,535 children in Chicago were lead poisoned; and 1,511 children had “elevated lead blood levels.”  Over one-third of those children (38%) were from greater Englewood.

 Trending research indicates that there are no safe levels of lead ingestion by a child. 

“Lead is transferred from pregnant mothers to the brain cells of their unborn children,” according to Dr. Howard Lee, retired pediatrician and IEi board member, who closely follows studies that repeatedly point to lead as being linked to learning disabilities, behavioral problems, violence, and incarceration.  To quote Dr. Lee:  “Thousands of children are walking around knowing that they cannot learn, but not knowing why.”


Under this backdrop, budget cuts and inadequate enforcement have resulted in fewer screenings and treatment.  Thus, it appears that lead-poisoning is not a priority.  Pat Robinson is a leading advocate for changes in the state’s lead-prevention laws.  She is a parent leader in IEi’s D.E.A.R. organization (Driving Englewood Above the Rim), a support group for parents of lead-poisoned children.  Together Pat and D.E.A.R. plan to launch a legislative initiative to strengthen the weaknesses in the law.  The Town-Hall Meeting on March 26th is a major step forward, bringing lawmakers, experts, and the community to the table to find solutions to the problem. 

Various legislators have shown their commitment to the community through their participation. 

The Town-Hall Meeting will be held at Imagine Englewood if… 6720 S. Stewart Ave., Chicago, IL  60621.  For further information, call Jean Carter-Hill, Executive Director of Imagine Englewood if, at 773.488.6704; cell773.320.6894; FAX:  773.488.6705; e-mail:; website:  Refreshments and food will be provided. 

This event is made possible through a grant from the Woods Fund of Chicago.

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