From: Paul Geary, ENN
Published September 15, 2005 12:00 AM

EarthNews Radio: Human Exposure to Lead

Human exposure to lead is a public health measure for which we have extensive data at our disposal. The Centers for Disease Control sets a level of 10 micrograms per deciliter of blood as cause for concern.


Jerry Kay spoke to Dr. John Osterloh, Chief Medical Officer of the Environmental Health Laboratories at the Centers for Disease Control:



Human Exposure to Lead



Osterloh says our long-term studies have shown that levels as low as 10 micrograms per deciliter have an affect on a child's neurological development. The report shows that 1.6% of children are above that threshold, whereas in the 1990s the number was more than 4%.


The huge drop in average lead in the blood since the 1970s parallels the reduced use of lead in gasoline since then. It's an example of one of the public health uses of the report: a documentation of a public health intervention.


You can learn more about the CDC's assessment of the US population's exposure to lead here, and you can download the full report as well -- it's a 3.2 mg pdf file requiring Adobe Acrobat or Reader.


Be sure to visit EarthNews Radio's home here at ENN often to hear Jerry Kay's interviews with environmentalists, and scientists, and activists on a wide variety of topics. You can find it at ENN Radio Network.


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