San Marino lead levels lead the nation

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San Marino may be luxurious and one of Los Angeles County’s most enviable communities, but recently published health data shows that more than 17 percent of children have high levels of lead in their bloodstream.

By comparison, only 5 percent of children in Flint, Michigan, which was the subject of a national debate on lead poisoning, tested positive for high levels of the heavy metal.

According to the Los Angeles County Public Health Department, the local blood test data records show San Marino has two areas of concern.

San Marino Mayor Eugene Sun said he first learned of the issue from a reporter with Reuters, who did research based on county records. Sun arranged a meeting and invited several community leaders to attend. There they learned that San Marino children are far more likely to be exposed to lead poisioning than children in Arcadia, San Gabriel, Pasadena or South Pasadena.

As for why? Sun said it is uncertain if the exposure comes from contaminated soil, water or paint used on older homes. Officials are gathering information that will help them determine a course of action and develop ordinances that will allow the city to eliminate potential lead sources.

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