Oakland All Zip Codes with Statistics for Lead Poisoning Risk to Low Income Children Under 7

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 all Zip Codes where children under 7 reside in housing units that may require lead abatement.  Help us intervene and prevent lifetime disabilities they will sustain if exposed to lead which is a heavy metal neurotoxin.

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 Codes with Low Income Children Under 7

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 dashboards show housing built before 1978 with breakdowns that separate housing units that are a closer match to ACHHD's funding requirements.

These parameters are set to prioritize low income tenants and landlords who want help paying to abate their lead issues.  ACHHD and SmartOakland decided to share these dashboards even though they show a small section of the problem and solutions so outside investors and impact funders can understand the risks and opportunities and get involved to become part of the solution for Oakland.

  • Gray means the unit is pre-1978 but the types of residents who historically live here are not considered, "low income", so they are identified as Not being candidates for lead remediation for ACHHD Federal lead abatement funds - this does NOT mean gray units are lead-safe homes for tenants!
  • Blue means the unit is older than 1978 and historic data shows people identified as, "low income", generally live in these units which means they are a higher match and considered a candidate for receiving lead abatement funds.

Why 1978?

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

Unless there are public records identifying remediation of lead hazards at a street address in Oakland, the property is considered to still contain lead paint, as a default.  Our data is not complete or perfect, yet. You can contact us and inquire as to whether your home is a candidate for lead abatement funds here: 510-833-6591 or write: leadcheck@smartoakland.org

What does the reference on 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 all impacted Zip Codes in Oakland?

  • 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