by Love and Rage
Mohawk Valley Community College student, local activist, and Freedom School educator Lana Nitti will give a presentation at MVCC today, March 10, from 3:00 – 4:00 PM on her research on lead poisoning in Utica.
The event, which is part of Women’s History Month, will take place at the Alumni College Center in Room 116. Nitti has been researching lead poisoning and lead in soil in Utica for the past two years.
She started the research after reading a USA Today article about sites of former lead smelters across the nation. Utica once had a lead smelter – a high traffic area that included housing projects, and now includes the Utica Aud, police station and municipal court, a meat processing plant, and various other buildings. She took soil samples from the area and found the lead levels in the soil to be way above what is considered safe by the EPA.
Nitti has been hard at work trying to figure out why Utica has this highest lead poisoning rate per capita of anywhere in New York State. Nitti has stated that this is a major public health concern that is not being discussed by public officials. She has looked into how lead poisoning affects poor people and people of color in greater ways than the rest of the population, a phenomenon many call environmental racism.
Nitti won an award for her research last year at the state conference for the Collegiate Science and Technology Entry Program (CSTEP) and taught a class at the Mohawk Valley Freedom School on the subject.
This presentation is free and open to the public. It is also being sponsored by CSTEP, Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) and MVCC Student Activities.