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Around one-in-three children globally suffer from lead poisoning. What can we do to reduce this?

The Institute for Health Metrics’ Global Burden of Disease study estimates that in 2019, lead exposure was responsible for just over 0.9% of global di

  • The Institute for Health Metrics’ Global Burden of Disease study estimates that in 2019, lead exposure was responsible for just over 0.9% of global disability-adjusted life years (DALYs).

  • Attina, T. M., & Trasande, L. (2013). Economic costs of childhood lead exposure in low-and middle-income countries. Environmental health perspectives, 121(9), 1097-1102.

    Lanphear et al. (2005) Low-Level Environmental Lead Exposure and Children’s Intellectual Function: An International Pooled Analysis. Environmental Health Perspectives.

    Ericson, B., Dowling, R., Dey, S., Caravanos, J., Mishra, N., Fisher, S., … & Fuller, R. (2018). A meta-analysis of blood lead levels in India and the attributable burden of disease. Environment International, 121, 461-470.

  • Attina, T. M., & Trasande, L. (2013). Economic costs of childhood lead exposure in low-and middle-income countries. Environmental health perspectives, 121(9), 1097-1102.

  • GiveWell (2021). Pure Earth — Support for Reducing Lead Exposure in Low- and Middle-Income Countries.

  • The failure of this policy in Flint, Michigan in 2014 brought this old problem of lead pollution back into the limelight. Thousands of households were exposed to high levels of lead after the city changed its water source. It failed to apply corrosion inhibitors to it, meaning lead from the city’s pipes leaked into the water supply, exposing thousands of young children to lead poisoning.

  • We see this in data in Germany, for example. Hagner, C. (1999). Historical review of European gasoline lead content regulations and their impact on German industrial markets.

    And in Swedish children: Schütz, A., Attewell, R., & Skerfving, S. (1989). Decreasing blood lead in Swedish children, 1978–1988. Archives of Environmental Health: An International Journal, 44(6), 391-394.

  • World Health Organization (2020). Global elimination of lead paint: why and how countries should take action. Technical brief. Geneva.

  • Ericson, B., Hu, H., Nash, E., Ferraro, G., Sinitsky, J., & Taylor, M. P. (2021). Blood lead levels in low-income and middle-income countries: a systematic review. The Lancet Planetary Health, 5(3), e145-e153.

  • Gleason, K., Shine, J. P., Shobnam, N., Rokoff, L. B., Suchanda, H. S., Ibne Hasan, M. O. S., … & Mazumdar, M. (2014). Contaminated turmeric is a potential source of lead exposure for children in rural Bangladesh. Journal of Environmental and Public Health, 2014.

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