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Environmental group says city lead program is lax

By KWMU Staff

St. Louis – A St. Louis environmental group says the city is purposely dodging an outside audit of its lead abatement program.

A new report from the Gateway Green Alliance says the Lead Safe St. Louis program is failing to direct funds toward high risk areas such as north St. Louis.

The report also says the health department's accounting obscures key facts such as how much funding comes in and how it is spent.

Don Fitz is a spokesman for the Gateway Green Alliance.

"The information which the city releases, reads like it's designed to obfuscate the issues, like it's intentionally designed to make it impossible to figure out how they're spending money."

Health Department interim director Pamela Rice Walker says the lead program is improving the way it allocates funding.

She says it looks at both the condition of the housing stock and the prevalence of lead poisoning in assessing risk.

"If you just look at housing stock, it feels like it's a never-ending, never accomplishable task. What we need to do is match that with our prevalence data of the kids that are being impacted."

The Greens are also calling for an outside audit of the lead program. Walker says she is open to one.