Lead: The Global Poison -- Humans, Animals, and the Environment

Saturday, February 16, 2013: 8:30 AM-11:30 AM
Room 300 (Hynes Convention Center)
Lead’s use spans 5,000 years. Over 300 million metric tons of this cheap, low-melting-point element have been mined. Use of lead has increased since the heyday of leaded gasoline. In all phases of its product lifecycle -- mining, manufacturing, use, and recycling -- lead poisons people, animals, and the environment. Ice cores show lead levels increasing three orders of magnitude over the past 3,000 years. Lead poisoning contributed to the decline of the Roman Empire. Use of lead water pipes and leaded gasoline has poisoned people worldwide for thousands of years. Lead has acute and chronic effects, interferes with cell signaling, and compromises organ systems, producing a cascade of adverse effects. Detrimental effects are known in over 130 vertebrates; females and developing young are most sensitive. Lead poisoning is a key factor in the near extinction of the California condor. The tragedy continues today, killing eagles, loons, and other species. Disciplinary barriers impede scientific understanding of lead toxicosis and slow policy initiatives to protect health. Increased collaboration among diverse professions offers hope for new and innovative solutions to this persistent problem. This cross-cutting symposium will address the history of lead contamination, toxicity, exposure pathways, and ecological cycling. Discussants will address policies and actions to mitigate lead risks in all environmental compartments.
Mark A. Pokras, Tufts University
Ronnie Levin, Harvard School of Public Health
Deborah Rice, Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Howard Mielke, Tulane University School of Medicine
A. Russell Flegal, University of California
The History of Industrial Lead Contamination: Why Won’t It Go Away?
Joel Schwartz, Harvard School of Public Health
Health Effects of Lead: What Is Known and What Is Coming
Samantha Langley-Turnbaugh, University of Southern Maine
Cycling of Lead in Soils: The Environment and Health
Jessica Wolpaw Reyes, Amherst College
Economic Implications of Lead Contamination
Mary Jean Brown, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Non-Essential Uses of Lead and Primary Prevention of Lead Poisoning
David E. Jacobs, National Center for Healthy Housing
Lead Paint in Housing
Howard Mielke, Tulane University School of Medicine
Lead In Soil
Michael R. Schock, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
Lead in Drinking Water
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