Portland, Ore. —
The worn, heart-shaped rug that greeted you upon entering Angela Molloy Murphy’s preschool was a reflection of the love she has for the 17 children she cares for daily in her home’s remodeled basement.
To Tamara Rubin, however, the welcome mat was more of a warning sign.
“You need to throw this out,” Rubin told Murphy.
Rubin is executive director of the nonprofit Lead Safe America Foundation. On a visit to the preschool earlier this May, she pointed an X-ray fluorescent heavy-metal detector at the rug’s faded red threads and relayed the bad news: It was loaded with lead.
Within the course of an hour, Murphy learned just how pervasive the toxic heavy metal was in her home and school: It was in the chips of lead…
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