Oakland 94603 Zip Code Statistics for Lead Poisoning Risk

Data Insight is the New Electricity

SmartOakland has gathered and assembled housing and health data for Oakland, CA to create a Public Data Utility offering information about the past, present, and future for all constituents living and working in Oakland to become more resilient using real-time situational intelligence in their daily lives. 

Data insight is the new electricity that can be collected, conducted, and turned into actionable insight for everyone to use in their daily life. This means individual families, doctors, city managers, schools, attorneys, students, project managers, non-profits, and business owners of all types - everyone - will be able to manage risks and opportunities right in front of them wherever they are.

Our concepts for a Public Data Utility began years ago but the flashpoint that made us commit to making it real occurred in Oakland, between December 2-19, 2016. Two devastating events became known to the public - thanks to the media - both were born from the housing crisis. Life and death situations can easily go unnoticed if they are invisible or they don't happen right in front of you. These two could've been prevented even though one happened in a split second and the other has been going on for decades here in Oakland.

  1. Dec. 2: The Ghost Ship warehouse fire kills 36 - see the New York Times coverage here.
  2. Dec. 19: Lead Poisoning in Fruitvale 4xs higher than Flint, MI - see Reuters here.

We knew housing was a nightmare in Oakland but had no idea of the scale and depth of the housing issues we face. We went looking for answers to volunteer to help fix it.  We asked a roomful of Oaklanders last March at Oakland City Camp if they would join us to address unsafe housing and figure out how to end lead poisoning. 

Here's what we learned and here are your Healthy Homes dashboards for Zip Code 94603.

Conceptually the solution to end lead poisoning is very simple, all you have to do is:

  • Find It.

  • Fund It.

  • Fix It. 

It turns out no. No single agency, elected official, city department, state, or federal agency is solely responsible or expected to fix the housing crisis or the lead poisoning crisis in Oakland, or anywhere. 

Even if it were a mandate to unify cross-functional leadership to find lead, notify the public, and execute sustainable solutions to abate lead in each neighborhood they would still not be able to win the war on lead poisoning because no current data exists to support that battle, and it's complicated.

Everything we know is too old and too late. Everything you read about lead poisoning is what happened 7-8 or more years ago. The focus is on studying human population trends over time vs. finding the kids who could be poisoned today and intervening to prevent them from entering the poison pipeline of unsafe housing and permanent disability.

Without data and real-time location insight it is impossible to win the war on lead.

Lead is hard to catch even though it's everywhere. The longer it stays out of control the further it migrates into more environments.

  • Finding It is hard because lead is invisible to the naked eye, some people want to hide the fact it is there, and others fear retaliation for reporting it
  • Funding It is hard because you need proof of it's existence in people and/or housing which requires a blood lead test and a scientific scanner to detect lead
  • Fixing It isn't that hard but it's expensive and time consuming to fix one unit at a time and the administrative process is insanely slow and time consuming

With data, technology, and real-time insight we can take action and win the war on lead.

  • We created real-time data that predicts where lead is located in every Oakland Zip Code, and this data is available today.
  • We can identify where children are located at the highest level of risk for imminent lead poisoning and connect qualified intervention and emergency services to protect and keep them from entering poison pipelines that may exist inside their homes.
  • We use data to protect children from first-time lead poisonings and avoid the ripple affect results which can include health and behavioral issues correlated with:
    • lowered IQ
    • lifetime disability
    • low educational attainment
    • unemployment
    • infertility
    • incarceration
    • premature death

Here is our risk assessment for lead poisoning potential for Oakland Zip Code 94603

SmartOakland's volunteer, non-profit, organization needs funding and more data to bring more value to the Public Data Utility and to Oaklanders - please support our work.


What do the colors mean?

These data insight visualizations are part of a pro-bono pilot SmartOakland is conducting with Alameda County Healthy Homes Lead Poisoning Prevention Program to help ACHHD find lead poisoning abatement candidates and match landlords and tenants to available abatement funds to get the lead out of housing units in Oakland. 

These search results will only be made available to ACHHD and qualified service providers who can intervene and provide assistance to individuals to, hopefully, get to children in time to prevent lead poisoning.

Why 1978?

In the past lead was added to paint to make it dry faster and used in a LOT of homes built before 1977 all over the country. In 1977 lead was banned from being added to or used in the production of house paint and new housing after it was found to be a potent neurotoxin that causes permanent lifetime disabilities and leads to premature death

Yes, really.

Your home probably contains lead paint

Unless there are public records identifying remediation of lead-based paint hazard at your address the County of Alameda Healthy Homes Lead Poisoning Prevention Program assumes it still contains lead paint.  ACHHD does not maintain records of properties they have not personally remediated so a property owner may have certified records of lead paint remediation or electronic receipts of scientific scans proving no lead paint exists at their property, so ask them for their records if you're planning to reside at their address - and do it BEFORE you move in. If you do not see these records you should assume an apartment or home still contains lead paint poisoning hazards and we recommend you do not have anyone spend time in this location until safety from lead poisoning can be scientifically proven. These tests are conducted by EPA Certified Lead Inspectors with a spectroscopy device called a Xray fluorescent scanner, or "XRF", Scanner.  This is the only sure-fire way to know if poison is in the environment.

SmartOakland decided to share these dashboards with the public right now even though they only show about 9% of the problem. We are doing so because of the urgency of this situation and the fact that the steps it takes to understand each individual housing situation take too long to inform parents of the risk their children may face in their home. It only takes a child under 7 ingesting what is equal to a few grains of sugar to cause permanent brain damage and IQ loss that is irreversible. This can happen within a few seconds and people need to know right now about the severity of this current risk to their children, families, and communities.  We are not trying to cause panic - only to alert people they need to take their own steps to ensure their housing is safe right now.

SmartOakland is self-funded so far along with small contributions from a crowd-funding campaign last summer. Our small volunteer team has done a lot of work because we know we can find a better way to solve the lead poisoning crisis by using data to find the threat instead of using already-poisoned children and trying to track them back to the poison room they were in when they became exposed.

We're all smarter than this. And now that you know, you can help us use data and technology to win the war on lead and bring this 2000+ year old story to a close by getting the word out and getting funding to us to support our work.

We've already created the solutions, data model, and algorithms that provide real-time locations of kids in poison rooms - help us get it to people who can use it to help them before it's too late.

Together we can ensure another 350+ young children do not become lead poisoning victims in Oakland this year. As an average, Alameda County Healthy Homes Lead Poisoning Prevention Program receives at least 350 new cases of lead poisonings in their offices every year and that number does not represent all kids being poisoned.

In a January 31, 2018 report the Environmental Working Group published results of an investigation that shows, "Almost Three-Fourths of California’s High-Risk Toddlers Miss Annual Lead Tests Required by Law".  We are still waiting to learn how this could have happened and will let you know what we find out. 

We do know people have not been using real-time data to solve this problem so far.

What does the reference to the left about children mean?

SmartOakland has developed real-time insight, from publicly available data sets, to determine where people may be living in housing units and be unaware of their personal risk of lead poisoning. The reason we're doing this is to provide predictive, accurate, information to qualified health, housing, and other related service providers to help them assess and respond to address current threats to vulnerable children and adults.

The data on the left represents the number of children under the age of 7 living in this Zip Code.  We can further narrow that number down to match a smaller number of kids living in housing that is pre-qualified for lead abatement funds.  The reason for this work and these numbers are so we can proactively notify at-risk families of their and inform them of available funds to mitigate lead poisoning risks to their families and prevent lead poisoning from ever happening to these families.

We do NOT have complete data sets yet and need funding and more resources to run complete risk assessments to notify all at-risk families.  Please support our work using our needs list below.

What do the numbers and calculations mean?

  • The geographic map identifies the borders of this Zip Code.
    • The candidate numbers mean the number of pre-1978 housing units that do or do not qualify for Alameda County Healthy Homes Lead Prevention Program Federal Abatement Grants to pay for the remediation (Note: ACHHD does not have enough money to pay for more than 125 units per year in the current funding plan)
  • The dollars identified represents the estimated Material Supply Costs for Abatement and Construction work on one housing unit at about $10,000 in these examples but that number varies.
  • The candidate for abatement cost numbers takes the qualified units in blue and multiplies that by the Material Cost number chosen on the slider bar.

What can you do to Support Lead Abatement in Zip Code 94603?

  • Sponsorship of SmartOakland operations, data, and delivery to help pay for:
    • Staff & Operations in Oakland - office space, utilities, staff & contractor budgets
    • Data & Dashboard development - data hunters, gatherers & developers
    • Public Data Utility - hosting fees, application development, data storage, service development
    • Lead Abatement funds per Zip Codes - adopt a Zip Code, school or neighborhood
    • Marketing and Outreach to impacted families  - education and training materials and delivery
    • Promotions to get the word out about Get the Lead Out actions - events and promotions to share GTLO agenda
    • In-Kind donations of convening space, marketing activities, mailing supplies
  • Become a supporting member:
    • Individuals: $5 month recurring gift
    • Families: $10 month recurring gift
    • Businesses: $20 month recurring gift
  • Please email or call/text to discuss the level of support you or your organization can provide. If you think of other things we need you're probably right.  Let us know and help us all succeed in getting the lead out and adding more powerful data to help Oaklanders grow personal and business resilience.


655 3rd Street #77
Oakland, CA 94607
510-833-6591 c / text