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Lead paint takes care

by:  L.E. BASKOW, When a contractor used an open-flame torch — an illegal method — to remove lead paint from the Rubin family’s home in Irvington, son Avi, now 3, suffered permanent brain damage from lead poisoning.

I am responding to Lee van der Voo's article 'Lurking hazards take toll' (Feb. 15), specifically regarding the removal of lead-based paint.

The article fell short in explaining the illegal use of an open-flame torch in removing lead-based paints and the health risks involved. An Oregon statute outlines how using an open-flame torch is illegal and is based on a national law. However, the law does not seem to be enforced on a consistent basis.

Common methods for removing paint are sanding, sandblasting, pressure washing, chemical removers and heat guns. They all can be hazardous to the environment and involve some risk to one's health if not done properly.

Lead normally is a long-term exposure hazard. In young children, exposure to lead can result in developmental damage to the nervous system.

In the case of the young boy in the article, his exposure may have begun long before the lead removal process started. The fact that the paint needed to be removed indicates that it probably already was peeling away. He may have been exposed enough to start showing symptoms of contamination that were not detected earlier.

Refinishing any surface is a difficult task that requires a lot of hard work. It is sad to see anyone, especially children, experience health issues from removal processes necessary for a safer home environment.

Michael Bell

Southwest Portland

Growth's contrary to 'sustainability'

This year, in tandem with government and big business leaders, the Portland Tribune is writing articles and editorializing on the need to continue luring more businesses here and, at the same time, find a way to fill tens of thousands of jobs that already are going begging. Can anybody spell 'growth engineering'?

The hook now being used to prepare and market the region for more growth, as usual, is 'sustainable' business (Jobs play role in 'sustainable' future for city, March 4). This just proves that few who use the sustainable term understand or care what it means.

As long as the Portland area's population is encouraged to and continues to grow, pollution, carbon emissions, compounding resource exhaustion, and habitat and species destruction will continue to increase and outpace any per-person or per-product reductions. This will only continue to accelerate the deterioration of our already degraded quality of life.

When will Portland's journalists, editors and leaders understand that 'sustainable' means reducing population, consumption, technologies and land use to our bioregion's limited and shrinking carrying capacity?

Steel

Sandy

Jail could help reduce gang problem

Regarding 'Gangs turn up the heat early this year'(March 7), it would be very interesting to find out how many of those involved in gang violence are either here illegally or are on early release from jail due to overcrowding.

I know it is in not in the best interest of the poor gang members to put them in jail. They need a gun in their hand to defend their 'respect.' Guns are not allowed in jail.

Of course, the best interest of those who are killed or beaten is really not important enough to open that empty jail. After all, dead people don't usually vote.

Whatever happened to earning respect?

John Elliott

Northwest Portland

Gang trends seem to be taking hold

We are experiencing three different trends impacting the creation of gangs today. Youths who are interested in the glamorization of the gang lifestyle are influenced by gang movies, music videos, style of dress and persona. This is now known as urban culture.

The second is what I call the 'generational effect' of family and friends with a history in gangs. These can be children of ex-gang members or active gang members with children as young as the first grade. Portland's L.A.-style gangsters, the Bloods and the Crips, are in the second generation of gang-affected youths.

Third, illegal immigration will be a factor in the formation of new gangs and rival gangs. I feel this will become the most dangerous aspect of gangs that law enforcement and communities will have to deal with.

Communication barriers, apprehension about police and government, and the isolation of this particular group are some of the reasons that youths who are interested in the gang lifestyle cross the line and become real gang members.

The bottom line as to why we are seeing an increase in youths getting involved in gangs is that their basic needs are not being met. Youths seek to fulfill the needs of identity and self-worth, and gangs have provided a temporary remedy.

Niso Caywood

Northeast Portland

Ethanol creates more problems than fixes

A big thank you to our illustrious governor for having employees and departments in both the state and county governments help senior citizens avoid scams and stay out of the grip of unscrupulous businesses.

That is all fine and dandy, except for the fact that our governor now has mandated that they put ethanol in our gasoline.

In January, the federal government increased my Social Security. In February, my gas mileage decreased by 20 percent due to this ethanol in our gasoline, thereby wiping out that increase.

After spending many dollars to keep my car DEQ-compliant and fuel-efficient, now I find I am being fleeced. Who is unscrupulous now?

The efficiency of producing gasoline is 80 percent, and the efficiency of producing ethanol is 23 percent. When considering that natural gas is used in producing ethanol and that since 2004 natural gas has tripled in price, one has to wonder.

The food crops used in making ethanol easily could be reducing our food supply chain, and now my food costs will be increasing as the ethanol producers compete for our food supplies.

Cleon Cox III

Tigard

Online comments make a free-for-all

I wonder why the Portland Tribune doesn't apply the same standards for submitting online comments that it does for letters to the editor appearing in its print edition.

Specifically, anyone submitting opinions online should be required to provide their name, address and other contact information with the understanding that their name will be posted online along with their comments.

Right now, the situation you've got with regard to online comments is a complete mess, and ultimately it reflects negatively on the Tribune's credibility.

Peter Apanel

Southeast Portland

Verification would bring respectability

I occasionally read articles in the Portland Tribune, and what I question is why the online readers have the ability to post comments at the end.

I have found that many of the comments are steeped in ignorance, and more often it is an opportunity for someone to cowardly hide behind nicknames while the commentator takes cheap shots at one group or person or public figure.

If the commentator can't be verified as to their true identity, then the comment shouldn't be posted. Your current setup cheapens the paper as a whole.

Chris Johnson

Happy Valley