Letters from our readers: Expunging lead from playgrounds a priority 

Despite the Recreation and Park Department’s efforts to clean up San Francisco’s parks, lead continues to contaminate children’s playgrounds, as reported in your Feb. 23 story. Lead “mimics calcium and iron” in the body, bonding “to blood and can later cause neurological or bone damage,” your story warned. Although the Recreation and Park Department is given $200,000 a year to test and monitor lead levels, it is not nearly enough to clean up all the parks.

This is not acceptable. Children should not be exposed to toxins, and parents should not have to stop taking their children to playgrounds for fear that they will become sick. The health of children who use playgrounds should not be compromised.
The Recreation and Park Department should make this its No. 1 priority. A playground is a place for kids to have fun with one another, not a place for them to become polluted with life-threatening contamination.

Emily McNulty


Hidden costs of smoking

During my 15-year career as a surgeon, I have witnessed the less-discussed hidden costs to society associated with smoking. Postoperative complications such as wound infection, respiratory failure and prolonged hospital stay are clearly linked to active smoking, resulting in increased health care costs.

A 2009 Institute of Medicine report highlighted the role of secondhand environmental tobacco smoke in causing heart attacks — the leading cause of death in the United States. In some countries with universal health care, active smokers are often required to complete a stop-smoking program before being allowed to undergo elective operations.

Passage of legislation to curb secondhand smoke exposure will not only improve The City’s air quality, it will also help current smokers succeed in their important efforts to quit.

John Maa, M.D.
San Francisco


Health reform begs testing

The metaphorical question “How do you eat an elephant?” is logically answered, “One bite at a time.”

The president and our congressional Democrats should heed such advice. The contemptuous monstrosity they are attempting to force-feed the American public should be abandoned.

Successfully implementing sustainable and affordable health care reform requires an incremental approach that can be properly tested and verified to ensure it will not morph into yet another unfunded and unaffordable entitlement program.

What Congress is unconstitutionally attempting to shove down the throats of its constituents will surely result in a fatal case of indigestion — both for the public and the Democratic Party.

Paul Bisaillon
San Francisco

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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