LeadBased Paint Investigation Was Misleading Ft Benning Commander Explains

first_imgOnly a tiny portion of the 31 young children of Fort Benning, Ga., personnel found to have elevated blood-lead levels according to a Reuters investigation lived in on-post housing built before 1978 when lead paint stopped being sold. The investigation, published last month, linked numerous cases of elevated blood-lead levels in young children to the presence of lead-based paint in family housing at five Army installations, including Fort Benning. In response, that post’s garrison commander, Col. Clint Cox, looked into each of the 31 poisoning cases to determine the circumstances, including where the child lived.“The article would have led me to believe that all of these children were poisoned in one of these historic homes or these pre-1978 homes,” Cox told the Ledger-Enquirer. “The reality is that wasn’t it. We only had four of those 31 kids live in the historical homes. One of them was a medical ingestion of actual fishing weights. That leaves three. Twelve of them lived in newer homes and 19 lived off post,” he said.Fort Benning officials, however, have not ignored the underlying finding that several dozen children of service members had elevate blood-lead levels and have been trying to figure out a common cause. “It begged the question, ‘If not the lead-based paint …. then what could it be and where is it?’” Cox said.Officials believe one primary risk stems from the 40 million rounds of lead-based ammunition fired annually on the post’s 86 firing ranges. Soldiers using or working on the ranges can get lead particles on their uniforms and that can be transferred to family members at home.At the same time post leadership and Fort Benning’s housing partner remain concerned about the potential hazard posed by the installation’s 2,274 homes built before 1978. The Villages at Benning — which is owned by Michaels Management Services — and the Army held a town hall meeting earlier this month in the wake of the Reuters report. They outlined a series of steps property managers are taking in response, including establishing a one-hour response time for all lead-based paint calls and scheduling inspections of all affected housing. “I don’t think there is any way around saying lead is harmful and there is lead-based paint in the houses,” said Michaels Management Services President Ronald Hansen.Ledger-Enquirer photo by Mike Haskey Dan Cohen AUTHORlast_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *