In Praise of Peter Lord

April 11, 2012

We are deeply saddened by the untimely death of Peter Lord, who covered the issue of childhood lead poisoning with great knowledge and conviction. Peter’s beat was the environment and largely thanks to him, the often neglected environmental health threat of childhood lead poisoning became visible in Rhode Island.

Lead poisoning awareness took a giant leap forward with Peter and photojournalist John Freidah’s 6-part series In the Providence Journal, POISONED,  first appearing on Mother’s Day, 2001. At our 9th anniversary event several months later, we recognized both Peter and John with our annual Media Award for their outstanding work on the series, telling the horrific story of several families with children poisoned by lead with great clarity and empathy.

From then on, Peter became our go- to reporter with whom we communicated frequently over the years on just about every twist and turn of this challenging issue. He continued to report on just about every lead story out there – with fairness and insight. We will be forever grateful that unlike other writers on the environment, Peter chose to adopt the environmental justice issue of childhood lead poisoning as his own.

He was indeed our ProJo champion and is sorely missed by us. As federal budget cuts eat away at the core of the State’s response to lead poisoning, a crisis entirely ignored by the Providence Journal, Peter would have immediately taken action to report on this pending disaster. Yes, there are some mighty big shoes to fill . . .

Roberta Hazen Aaronson, Executive Director

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