Claremont Recognized for Efforts to Reduce Lead Exposure to Children

Friday, September 14, 2018

Claremont — The city was recognized this week by the New England office of the federal Environmental Protection Agency for its efforts to address the problem of lead exposure in children.

The merit award for children’s health, presented at a ceremony on Wednesday in Boston, acknowledged the work by Mayor Charlene Lovett to pass legislation signed last February by Gov. Chris Sununu mandating lead screening for all 1- and 2-year-olds and lower the blood lead level in children that triggers state intervention.

“For decades, Claremont has been one of New Hampshire’s highest risk communities for lead poisoning with an average of 40 children poisoned yearly,” the EPA said in a news release. “Meanwhile, testing rates for blood lead levels in 1- and 2-year-olds there have been among the lowest in the state, even though state health officials recommend universal lead screening for kids due to old housing stock.

“Faced with this alarming data, Mayor Lovett made lead poisoning prevention and awareness a priority.”

Lovett was credited for bringing the issue to the forefront and working with health and school officials to raise public awareness and lower lead hazards in housing.

“This year for the first time the Claremont school district is requiring lead screening for all students entering kindergarten and pre-kindergarten, the first policy of its kind in the state,” the EPA said.

The city was among the two individuals and four organizations from New Hampshire awarded 2018 Environmental Merit Awards by the EPA.