Recent media is bringing to light an issue largely considered solved, but that continues to be a problem for clients of the Health Disparities Project (HDP). Unfortunately, many of our clients’ children are suffering from lead poisoning, particularly in low-income neighborhoods of Chicago. HDP has been working with the Health Justice Project, a Medical-Legal Partnership among Erie Family Health Center, Loyola University Chicago School of Law, and LAF Chicago, to advocate for these families. While HDP provides direct legal services to families, we also advocate for systems-level improvements.
From our HDP Lead Attorney, Sarah Hess:
"Lead poisoning is at the intersection of race, poverty, and health. It has lifelong consequences for children even at very low levels. As a legal issue, it largely impacts people of color and low-income people who don't have the resources to protect themselves. Our clients don't have the resources to move, and they don't have the resources to remediate properly, so they need civil legal aid and programs like the Medical-Legal Partnership at Erie Family Health to support them in trying to keep their children safe. Change has to come for individual families, but also at the legislative and policy level. The results of inaction are children with permanent neurological damage and special education needs, who are more likely to be engaged with the criminal justice system. The consequences of doing nothing will only get worse, but the most important element of this cycle is that lead poisoning is entirely preventable."
To read more about the work of HDP and the Health Justice Project around lead poisoning in Chicago, visit: