It’s less than a two-hour drive from Washington, D.C., to Red Lion, Pa., one of the politically reddest parts of the country. Enthusiastic voters there gave Trump nearly two-thirds of the presidential vote, and Trump hasn’t forgotten. Not only did he recently hold a political rally in the area, but in his first speech to a joint session of Congress, the president pointed to one of the region’s major industries, Harley-Davidson, as a company that had “been mistreated for so long.” Harley, Trump said, was a perfect example of why “it is very hard to do business with other countries,” explaining that they “tax our goods at such a high rate.”
Rhetoric like that lit up voters in this town of 6,333 people. But Red Lion is one of the places where Trump’s rhetoric is colliding with reality. In assessments of lead exposure, 21 percent of the children tested in Red Lion had high levels in their blood. That’s four times higher than in Flint, Mich., where lead in the drinking water exploded into a national crisis. And it’s more than eight times the national average. In the county seat of York, high lead exposure hits 30 percent of the kids, and, in one Census tract, high lead levels are affecting fully half the children.