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Obama: ‘I Might Have Ingested Some Lead Paint When I Was 2 or 3 Years Old’

CNSNews.com Staff
By CNSNews.com Staff | May 4, 2016 | 4:53 PM EDT

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(CNSNews.com) - Speaking in Flint, Mich., today after meeting with federal responders dealing with the water crisis there, President Barack Obama said that he “might have ingested some lead paint” when he was very young.

“When I was five or six or seven, a lot of homes still had lead paint in it,” Obama said. “I might have ingested some lead paint when I was two or three years old, because at the time, people didn’t know it.

“So we’ve got an entire couple of generations of Americans who have done really well despite the fact that they may have had something that is not optimal,” the president said.

 “And how lead interacts with any particular child is going to be different, and what each child needs is going to be different,” he said. “And some kids are going to be fine, and they’re not going to be affected. Some kids may have more of an--it might have more of an effect.  

“But the bottom line is, is that we now know what to do,” said Obama. “We know how to mitigate these effects.”  

Here is an excerpt from the president’s remarks:

Last point.  I think people are understandably scared when they hear that their child may have ingested some lead, it may have gotten into their system, and that that may have some long-term impacts or create particular challenges for kids.  But it is really important for all of us to remember that kids are resilient.  And every kid in Flint is special, and has capacity, and can do great things.  And the fact that they may have had some drinking water that was contaminated doesn’t automatically mean somehow that they’re going to have huge problems or that they’re not going to be able to reach that potential.

And so for the parents who are out there, I want to emphasize:  Get your child checked, but be confident that your child can thrive and will be fine as long as you know what they need, and know how to access the resources that they need.  It’s useful to remember, just to keep things in perspective, that the laws banning lead paint in homes and reducing the lead that was in our environment, those laws really were put in place just a generation ago.  

When I was five or six or seven, a lot of homes still had lead paint in it. I might have ingested some lead paint when I was two or three years old, because at the time, people didn’t know it. So we’ve got an entire couple of generations of Americans who have done really well despite the fact that they may have had something that is not optimal.  And how lead interacts with any particular child is going to be different, and what each child needs is going to be different. And some kids are going to be fine, and they’re not going to be affected.  Some kids may have more of an--it might have more of an effect.  

But the bottom line is, is that we now know what to do. We know how to mitigate these effects.