Living with Lead: Utica NY
Utica, NY is currently number one in the state for childhood lead poisoning AND one of the smallest cities in the United States with one of the highest risks of exposure to lead. Low income neighborhoods are most greatly affected, Cornhill and West Utica are considered “red zones” in which over 64 cases of child lead poisoning were diagnosed from 1984-2004. That is at least four cases per year within one square mile of residential housing. Soil in the area has been tested and reported some lead levels as high as five times higher than what the EPA reports is hazardous to humans. Lead poisoning in children can cause issues with growth and development affecting behavior, auditory functions, and learning abilities as well as slowing the child’s growth. Lead poisoning in adults can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, the stomach, and the kidneys. It can also cause high blood pressure and numerous other health problems.
Joe Owens is a graphic designer, photographer, and printmaker attending PrattMWP, a satellite campus of the Pratt Institute located in Utica, NY. When he is not in school, he resides in Rochester, NY.