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Letters: Lead poisoning is inexcusable

Lead poisoning inexcusable Your Sunday story about lead poisoning in Philadelphia's children ("Paint and peril") is commendable and deeply troubling for a reason that most readers may not realize - this is not a new problem.

Lead poisoning inexcusable

Your Sunday story about lead poisoning in Philadelphia's children ("Paint and peril") is commendable and deeply troubling for a reason that most readers may not realize - this is not a new problem.

Forty-five years ago, I wrote a similar story for the Baltimore Sun. Yes, 45 years ago - that's not a typo. I wrote about infants and toddlers who ingested bits of toxic lead paint from window sills in old, badly maintained homes. I wrote about a child who was irreparably damaged by lead paint. At age 10, he spoke only a few words, and his behavior was uncontrollable.

Eliminating old lead paint is not difficult. The fact that we have allowed the poisoning of our children to persist is deplorable and inexcusable.

|Martha Jablow, Philadelphia

Canada for prescriptions

The column, "Trying to save on prescription costs? Good luck" (, Oct. 17), detailed the plight of a woman who faced an exorbitant cost for prescribed medication for diabetes. As she discovered, the cost of the medication was one-third less when bought from Canada.

This is not uncommon. At the Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation, we hear regularly from Americans who cannot afford lifesaving, critical, health-maintenance medications. Our national survey found that 30 percent of Americans did not fill a prescription and 25 percent skipped doses or split pills because of high drug costs. Many others look to Canada, including 22,000 Pennsylvania residents.

Accessing safe, affordable prescriptions doesn't have to be a "losing proposition" or a part-time job. Join our cause and demand that Congress support importation of personal prescriptions from credentialed, safe, online Canadian pharmacies, to ensure that consumers in Philadelphia and beyond have a safe, affordable option.

|Rebecca Kelley, executive director, Campaign for Personal Prescription Importation, Washington,

Quicker warnings at Temple

As the mother of a Temple University student, I appreciate the Inquirer's coverage of the recent violence near campus ("Temple responds to night of attacks," Oct. 25). Your coverage was the only way parents learned of this incident. Our son was safe, but, unfortunately, others weren't so lucky.

The tension in North Philadelphia among a large institution, developers, and the poverty that pervades the neighborhood is ongoing, and Temple students are caught in the crosshairs. The violence unleashed by juveniles on Temple students was the latest outbreak. While not all violence can be prevented, the more than 150 youths who rampaged and the failure of Temple to alert students until almost two hours after the attacks are inexcusable. Why wasn't an alert message sent out immediately and a lockdown imposed?

|Joan Saverino, Philadelphia

Deeper port means more jobs

Spending taxpayer money to build a huge docking facility at the Navy Yard that will be mostly obsolete by the time it is completed makes no sense and is another example of shortsighted local, state, and federal politicians ("Shipping plea," Friday).

By the time this facility is up and running, most cargo and fuel oil ships will require a 50-foot draft. We haven't even completed a 45-foot-deep channel, and it took us more than 20 years to get this far. There are no plans to go to 50 feet, even though we are the only major port on the East Coast not at that depth.

The marine terminal would need to rely on small shipping companies using older ships. We have excellent rail and trucking facilities to distribute cargo across the country, but there will be reduced business as our port becomes limited. We need to start taking this seriously, since our port system is one of the major employers in the region.

|Kenneth Veith, Philadelphia,

Universal pre-K is a must

As the cost of living in New York City rises to unaffordable levels, more families are looking to Philadelphia as an affordable alternative - me included.

With two small kids, my wife and I are finding it increasingly difficult to make ends meet in Brooklyn. We recently visited Philly to research a move and found almost everything to be more attractive, from the less-hectic lifestyle to the more-affordable housing.

But there's one thing holding me and my family back from making the move - Philly's lack of universal prekindergarten.

Child-care is a huge expense, and free pre-K is one thing New York provides that Philadelphia doesn't. And while it's heartening to see Philly just expanded funding for its pre-K offerings, it isn't enough. If Philly offered universal pre-K, we'd be there in a heartbeat. Until then, we'll just dig in and hope that things get better in Brooklyn.

|Ben Goldman, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Jewelers Row worth saving

Fifty years ago, my husband-to-be purchased my engagement ring in a shop on Jewelers Row. ("Panel OKs historic bid," Oct. 22).

In a rite of passage, he selected the diamond, conferred with the jeweler on the design of the setting, and on Christmas Eve 1966, during a blizzard in Philly, presented the ring to me. There I was with my beautiful ring, church services canceled because of the weather, and no one to show my ring off to.

My husband often speaks of his wonderful experience at Jewelers Row, proud to have bought my ring there. With the charm and popularity of the first-floor shops, they should be preserved with the floors above to keep the iconic Jewelers Row intact.

|Dianne C. Boldt, North Wales

Start with assault-weapons ban

When it comes to curing gun violence in America, we need to adopt the triage model used by trauma centers and the military - treat the most serious problem first.

Thorough background checks are necessary, but putting them first is like putting a Band-Aid on a mortal wound. The most serious problems are the easy access to assault rifles and large-capacity magazines, which are used to cause serious and widespread carnage to our citizens.

As they loaded their muskets with one shot at a time, our forefathers couldn't foresee a standing army for defense, rather than a volunteer militia, and weapons firing many rounds per second. Hunters should have rifles and shotguns to pursue their sport, but no hunter worth his salt needs an assault rifle to bring down his quarry - ask any bow hunter.

The Second Amendment wasn't intended to guarantee a non-militia citizen access to such weapons. It is time for spineless legislators to ban assault rifles and large-capacity magazines. Let's treat the most serious problems first.

|James Seyboldt, Warminster,

Private health insurance - ouch

I just received my Independence Blue Cross explanation of my benefit options for 2017. To maintain the identical coverage, I would have to pay 35.67 percent more. Obamacare's 25 percent increase seems like a good deal compared to what the private market is allowed to charge.

|Paul L. Newman, Merion Station