Statement from 2017 Fair Housing and Civil Rights conference

At the 2017 Springfield Fair Housing and Civil Rights conference in Springfield, MA, participants in a conversation on lead developed the following statement to Secretary Ben Carson:
Dear Dr. Carson,
We are writing to you because during your nomination hearings you made statements concerning the problem of lead poisoning that showed an understanding of its seriousness.
As Secretary of HUD you are in a position to ensure that each of the millions of lives for which you are responsible have a safe and healthy home. We are appealing to the nature of your position as well as your personal history as a vulnerable low-income child.
You are well suited to this position because you are a doctor, and you took the Hippocratic Oath to First Do No Harm.
It is essential that funding be provided and vigorous and prompt action be undertaken. As you are well aware this will be a smart investment, as well as compassionate, because the cost of deleading is far less than allowing this problem to persist.
These costs include the costs of incarceration, special education, health care, lost productivity, lost tax dollars, loss of intellectual and emotional capacities, diminished opportunities, the loss of the contribution that poisoned individuals would have made, and the injustice of allowing this tragedy to continue.
If you had not been able to leave the neighborhood where you grew up, the brain damage inflicted on so many children might have been your experience.
Please consider the following:
Talk to the people who live in lead-contaminated housing.
Talk to the American public about this problem.
Obtain and provide funding for removing lead from the home environment, educating the public, and performing needed research.
Address the cause of the problem by working for greater responsibility on the part of the mining, paint and other companies that have put lead into commerce.
Create a partnership with the real estate industry to better address the problem, because it is their best interest to do so, as well as ours.
Ensure universal effective enforcement and accountability.
We hope, and we wish to trust, that you will do the right thing and we hope to hear from you about your success.
Millions of children, and their families, are counting on you.