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February 18, 2005
Study links elevated lead levels to violent crimes

A U.S. researcher is arguing that the lead left in paint, water, soil and other sources may be having a greater impact on people's behavior than realized. Elevated lead levels are known to affect children's intelligence, but it might also be leading to antisocial and criminal behavior, according to Dr. Herbert Needleman.

The professor of psychiatry and pediatrics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine said the U.S. government needs to do more to reduce lead levels in the environment. Read More...

December 6, 2004
"Lead exposure may prevent full brain injury recovery"

A new scientific report released in today's Journal of the American Medical Association suggests older men that have high lead concentrations in their bodies have a much higher risk of developing cataracts. Cataracts are the leading cause of blindness.

The first large study to show the adverse effects lead exposure can have in the formation of cataracts, the findings suggest there might be ways to reduce the risk of cataracts. Read More....

October 25, 2004
"Lead exposure may prevent full brain injury recovery"

A new study on young rats exposed to low levels of lead may show one more reason why preventing lead exposure early in life is so important. According to a professor of pathology, anatomy and cell biology at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, even low levels of lead exposure can have serious effects on the structure and function of developing nervous system and cause attention, memory, learning, emotional and other behavioral problems that last into adulthood. Read More....

July 20, 2004
"Lead exposure occurs not just in the workplace"

While the majority of lead poisoning is suffered at the workplace, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has warned that dangerous lead exposure can also come from some very unlikely sources. Things like tableware and traditional Indian medicines, as well as other unsuspecting sources have been cause for concern. The agency's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report journal outlined two unusual cases of lead exposure. Read More....

October 2, 2003
"FDA Issues Consumer Warning For Remedy Containing Lead"

WASHINGTON, DC—The Food and Drug Administration issued a national warning on Thursday about a powder known as Litargirio, which is considered a traditional remedy in the Dominican Republic and is imported to specialty stores here. The yellow or peach colored powder contains dangerous levels of lead and should not be used, claim authorities.

The warning came after the FDA discovered that several children in Rhode Island who were undergoing treatment for lead poisoning had used Litargirio as a deodorant. While the product has no proven health benefits, it is traditionally used as a deodorant and a remedy for foot fungus, burns, and wounds.

The lead contained in the product causes brain damage, and the blood levels of lead in the exposed children had climbed to as high as four times the amount known to cause cognitive problems. Their blood levels continued to climb even after their initial treatment, and did not decline until the children quit using Litargirio.

The FDA advises the public to immediately discontinue any use of Litargirio, thoroughly wash any body parts or surface that came into contact with the powder, and ask a health worker to test children and pregnant/nursing women who have used Litargirio.


October 4, 2003
"Lead Poisoning Creates Concern, Especially Among the Poor"

WASHINGTON, DC— Lead poisoning is 100 percent preventable, through the removal of lead-based paint and other home restoration, but continues to affect many children, especially minorities living in poverty. Childhood lead poisoning affects more than 20% of African American children living in older homes. Approximately 85% of children whose blood tested positive for high levels of lead are Medicaid eligible, living in or near poverty.

Many cities have taken an aggressive position in combating lead poisoning, providing lead hazard education, remediation, screening, and enforcement. The result is that the overall incidence of lead poisoning has decreased significantly in the past ten years, from almost one million to an estimated 300,000 cases this year, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

Cities such as Boston and Baltimore have made lead poisoning a top priority, providing a model of progress for other cities. Congress now determines the amount of funding that will be provided to cities to address lead hazards.

Lead Poisoning Breaking Story from the ATSDR!

When BLLs [blood lead levels] for children residing east of Highway 61/Commercial Blvd. (the portion of the community closer to the smelter) are examined exclusively, 30 of 67 children, approximately 45%, had BLLs of 10 ìg/dL or higher. This is significantly higher than the national prevalence rate of 7.6 % and the Missouri prevalence rate of 8%. The average BLL in children less than 72 months, regardless of proximity to the smelter, was 8.0 ìg/dL for the entire calendar year, with BLLs ranging from 2-31 ìg/dL. This is also higher than the national mean BLL of 2.0 ìg/dL. Based on these BLLs and prevalence rates, it is likely that adverse health effects, such as those mentioned above, may be occurring in a considerable portion of the children in this community.

January 29, 2002

Herculaneum, MO residents want their city put on the federal government list ranking the nation's most polluted sites, in hopes for government buyout of their lead-filled homes. Most families in Herculaneum just want to get their families out of the lead contaminated areas but cannot afford it because their house and land value is so low due to the lead exposure and location to the lead smelters. Some families have been able to take advantage of the temporary relocation while they wait for their homes and yard to be stripped of the lead contamination.

Herculaneum has had more luck with lead cleanup than other areas. Missouri's Old Lead Belt has been on this list for a decade and they have yet to see relocation for their residents. The cleanup has been a long and slow process, much slower than Herculaneum's lead cleanup. The area in the Old Lead Belt has 25,000 residents and is about 10 times the population of Herculaneum but may have been overlooked because the EPA bypassed Sueperfund's complex national priority list. Officials claim that Superfund is a slow-moving process that takes time. Herculaneum has received a lot of press attention that may be the reason their clean up has progressed so much faster than other areas, but according to a Herculaneum Alderman, the EPA has not guaranteed the cleanup will work out.


January 29, 2002


Herculaneum has received a lot of attention because of the high levels of lead poisoning that have been tested in around a quarter of the town's children. The risks associated with lead poisoning are serious, including neurological problems, like learning disabilities. The lead poisoning problems that have been highlighted are not even as bad as the number of other cities that have been affected much worse than the Herculaneum residents.

While Herculaneum has received a lot of attention for their high levels of lead, other poor, urban areas have yet to receive protection from the lead poisoning afflicted on the children. The EPA claims they are unable to help these children that must live in old, run down conditions full of lead based paint chips and flakes.

January 24, 2002

The federal official announced they would temporarily move hundred of residents from Herculaneum out of their homes in order to strip the lead contamination from the yards and homes. The relocation would include homes with young children, pregnant women, and various others, as well as homes with children older than 6 but who have high lead levels. There are skeptical opinions of how effective the lead cleanup will be, considering there is still a smelter polluting the town with lead. Tests performed on various Herculaneum areas have found that there are dangerous levels of lead contained in the soil, streets, homes, schools, and many other places. The children are the most potentially affected by the lead poisoning because the risk of reduced cognitive, behavioral, and developmental problems. U.S. House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt and Governor Bob Holden asked the EPA to put Herculaneum on the EPA Superfund national priority list of sites that need government funds for cleanup.

January 20, 2002

In 1999, more than 372 million pounds of lead was released according to the EPA's Toxic Release Inventory, and Herculaneum has emerged as another area contaminated by lead. The EPA has fallen behind on lead pollution cleanup, including areas of Oklahoma that has become so polluted that the governor wishes to relocate two entire towns. Lead poisoning has been a continual problem that has negatively affected entire towns and cities. New ideas must be considered when approaching this ongoing problem. Currently, the federal-state partnership in dealing with lead contamination and pollution is strong. According to a government study from last year there are about 38 million American homes with lead based paint and 25 million of these are dangerous.

January 20, 2002

A Herculaneum child had blood tests last year showing her lead level to be twice the standard that is considered for lead poisoning. She is among over a hundred other Herculaneum children and families to suggest to have lead poisoning. Lead harms the neurological development of children and fetuses, causing reduced intelligence, behavioral disorders, and other physical problems. Adults can endure fatigue, heart, and kidney problems.

The EPA announced a plan to relocate the households with young children, pregnant women, and other people sensitive to lead while their homes and yards are cleaned for lead contamination. Herculaneum is the home of the country's largest smelter. Data from Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services show that 24% of the children tested had blood lead levels greater than the federal lead poisoning level. Of the 200 children that are 6 years or younger that live in Herculaneum, about 80 were tested.

Herculaneum residents remain skeptical of the planned lead clean up because they will have to return to the exact same environment and the smelter is still up and running.

January 9, 2002
"Data show high lead levels in Herculaneum children"

Herculaneum, Missouri found that about one in four children that were tested by the state suffer from lead poisoning. These results are based on preliminary data, but House Minority Leader Richard Gephardt asked that Herculaneum be placed on the Environmental Protection Agency's national priority list for cleanup funds. The city of Herculaneum is the home of the largest lead smelter in the nation. In a door-to-door survey by the state's health department, they found 15 of 62 children, age 6 or younger, met the criteria for the federal government's definition of lead poisoning. Twenty three percent of children tested in St. Louis have lead poisoning according to state figures. The toxic metal lead affects the development of children and fetuses.

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