Responding to calls for action, Manchester launches lead prevention commission

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deluxe lead ways to minimize lead paint exposure then avoid paint poisoning plus test lead paint test kit
Lead paint can be detected using products that turn red on contact, such as “Lead Check.” File Photo

Story Produced by New Hampshire Public Radio, a Member of Copy of


MANCHESTER, NH – Manchester has the highest rate of elevated lead levels among children, according to the most recent state data. Now, city officials in Manchester are launching a commission to protect kids from lead poisoning.

Arnold Mikolo, an environmental justice advocate with the Conservation Law Foundation, said people in Manchester have been raising alarms about lead for a long time. The problem has been especially hard on immigrant and refugee communities, he said, who are often living in substandard housing.

“It can be a devastating experience for a parent,” he said.

While there’s more work to do, Mikolo said this commission is a step in the right direction after years of work.

“It’s going to take a multi-pronged approach to solve this issue of lead that we know we can solve as a city,” he said.

Arnold Mikolo of the Conservation Law Foundation address the Board of Mayor and Aldermen about led poisoning during the May 16, 2023 meeting. Screenshot/MPTV
Arnold Mikolo of the Conservation Law Foundation address the Board of Mayor and Aldermen about led poisoning during the May 16, 2023 meeting. Screenshot/MPTV

Exposure to lead from paint, dust, pipes or other household items can cause damage to childrens’ nervous systems and brains, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It can also slow growth and development, and lead to problems with learning, hearing, and speech.

Manchester’s Lead Exposure Prevention Commission will include a mix of perspectives: city officials, a doctor, a landlord and a resident whose family has experienced lead exposure, among others. Their main goals are to develop recommendations for preventing lead poisoning and assess the city’s ordinances to determine if they should be amended to reduce lead exposure. They’re also expected to advise city departments, recommend funding and assess progress each year.

Lead testing rates have declined in New Hampshire over the past few years, likely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to the state’s Department of Health and Human Services.

Still, more than 450 children tested at lead levels higher than the Center for Disease Control’s threshold for recommending medical case management in 2021.

These articles are being shared by partners in The Granite State News Collaborative. For more information visit collaborativenh.org. 

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About this Author

Mara Hoplamazian

Mara Hoplamazian reports on climate change, energy, and the environment for NHPR, part of our By Degrees initiative. They joined the station in 2021 as a Couch Fellow. Originally from Chicago, Mara earned their undergraduate degree in American Studies from Yale University. Mara uses the pronouns they/them/theirs.

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