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think of the children
May 21, 2018

China could potentially end its restrictions on the number of children that parents are allowed to have as soon as this year, Bloomberg reports. For approximately four decades, China enforced a one-child policy that received widespread criticism and resulted in 30 million more men than women due to selective abortions, although the country has touted the policy for its economic successes. In 2015, the country opened up limits to two children in what was apparently an attempt to revitalize the workforce as it aged.

The new law, which would end restrictions on the number of children that parents could have, would be a further effort to sustain the economy. While just 13 percent of China's population was over the age of 60 in 2010, that number is expected to be as high as 25 percent in 2030.

"China's population issues will be a major hurdle for President Xi Jinping's vision of building a modernized country by 2035," said the vice president of the China Society of Economic Reform, Chen Jian. Jeva Lange

November 14, 2017

A decade-long investigation on lead exposure rates in children in New York City found several neighborhoods with higher rates than Flint, Michigan, Reuters reported Tuesday. Reuters obtained childhood blood testing data from 2005 to 2015 and found 69 census tracts where the lead exposure was higher in New York City than Flint, where local government cost-saving measures contaminated the city's water supply.

Reuters mapped lead exposure across the census tracts, contiguous areas that ideally contain a population of about 4,000 people. In contrast to Flint, where the water crisis led to the high exposure levels, New York City's failure to eliminate lead poisoning is believed to be a result of poor regulation of existing housing laws and lead levels found in consumer products, Reuters explained:

There is little or no city enforcement of two provisions of the law, designed to make private landlords responsible for preventing poisoning.

One requires landlords to conduct annual lead paint inspections in pre-1960 housing units where small children live, fix hazards, and keep records. The other requires them to "permanently seal or remove" lead paint from spots like windows and door-frames — so-called friction surfaces, where paint often breaks down — before new tenants move in.

Reporters reviewed the past 12 years of [New York Housing and Preservation Department] violation records and found the agency hasn't cited a single landlord for failure to conduct the annual inspections. Only one was cited for failure to remediate friction surfaces between tenants, in 2010. [Reuters]

Reuters' investigation found that most children with elevated levels of lead exposure lived in Brooklyn. High levels of lead exposure were also found in well-off areas like Manhattan's Upper West Side, which had rates comparable to Flint's. Read Reuters' full report here. Kelly O'Meara Morales

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