Terra Verde

A Heavy Load: The Continuing Problem with Lead Contamination

There is really no safe level of lead in a child’s blood. Very young children, between ages 1 and 2, are particularly vulnerable, even at low levels. Primary prevention strategies that eliminate these sources are still the best way to prevent exposure to lead. Yet the US has a patchwork of blood lead screening policies is inadequate and likely misses a significant number of children with elevated lead levels during the critical window when intervention could prevent long-term damage. Why is this so? Why don’t we have better, universal lead screening policies? What’s can we do to help resolve this long-standing and critical public health issue? Show host and Earth Island Journal editor, Maureen Nandini Mitra, discusses these questions with Dale Hagen, Housing Services Manager with Alameda Country’s Healthy Homes Department, and Dr Howard Milke, director of the Lead Lab Project and one of this country’s leading lead researchers whose work helped phase out lead from gasoline in the 1970s and ‘80s.

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