Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance
Nestled in between the bars and restaurants of Dundee, the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance (OHKA) is a non-profit focused on lead poisoning that helps those vital members of the community least able to help themselves: children.
The Healthy Kids Alliance’s has a simple mission. In a city where both interior lead and lead soil contamination are big problems, the OHKA brings awareness of the lead poisoning issue to light, especially for children, the demographc most susceptible to lead.
In 2003, Omaha was added to the Superfund National Priorities List with approximately 14 square miles of residential property in East Omaha considered at high risk. Homes within the boundaries of 45th Street, L Street or Ames Avenue often qualify for free soil testing, but there are still an estimated 83,000 homes in Omaha which potentially have lead paint, including most homes built before 1978.
Today, almost everyone knows that lead is dangerous, but few realize how insidious a problem it is in our city. Lead poisoning in children has been directly related to lower test scores, higher high school drop out rates, and has been proven as a predictor of future violent behavior.
Exposing children to lead not only endangers the child, it endangers our society. The OHKA website cites a Harvard study stating that “lead poisoning costs society up to $45,000 per building for each decade that building codes are not strictly enforced.”
We spoke with Kara Eastman, Executive Director of the Alliance, to learn more about how lead is affecting our community and what the OHKA is doing to combat the problem. Kara is passionate about helping Omaha families, whether its working with schools to design fun educational programs, working with national organizations like the EPA to help secure grant money, or working one on one with families to make their homes and yards safer.
If you feel that your children may be at risk:
- call the Omaha Lead Information Hotline at 1-877-LEAD-411 (1-877-532-3411)
- visit the Omaha Healthy Kids Alliance website
- stop by their Dundee office—they’re there to help!
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