The Cost of Being Poor: Poverty, Lead Poisoning, and Policy Implementation


Social problems, such as childhood lead poisoning, do not occur in a vacuum. As such, the definition of the problem requires a holistic examination of the broad social, political, and economic influences that create and perpetuate the issue of concern. Richardson does this with eloquence and heart. She also investigates the attitudes various groups have held toward the Residential Lead-based Paint Hazard Reduction Act (Title X). In doing so, she reveals much about the attitudes officials hold in general toward problems affecting poor communities and demonstrates how these attitudes directly affect policymaking and policy enforcement.

The social consequences of lead poisoning analyzed in this volume fall into the following categories:

· Housing

· Health

· Education

· Policy-making

· Legal Challenges

The Cost of Being Poor would be useful to individuals in the fields of public health, policy, education, and law. Furthermore, this work would be of special use to educators, who would benefit from familiarity with lead poisoning as a factor in their students' lives and from becoming aware that there are options that poisoned children have to improve their situation. The first step necessary in eliminating social problems is to understand the nature of the problem. This study is a step in that direction.


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