Health Justice Strategies to Eradicate Lead Poisoning: an Urgent Call to Action to Safeguard Future Generations

66 Pages Posted: 15 Sep 2020 Last revised: 17 Sep 2020

See all articles by Emily A. Benfer

Emily A. Benfer

Wake Forest University - School of Law

Emily Coffey

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Allyson E. Gold

Mona Hanna-Attisha

Michigan State University

Bruce P. Lanphear

University of British Columbia (UBC) - BC Children's Hospital and Child & Family Research Institute; Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Faculty of Health Sciences

Helen Y. Li

Connecticut Legal Services

Ruth Ann Norton

Green & Healthy Homes Initiative

David Rosner

Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health

Kate Walz

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law

Date Written: September 15, 2020

Abstract

Despite over a century of evidence that lead is a neurotoxin that causes irreparable harm, today, lead continues to pervade children’s environments and remains a constant threat to health and wellbeing. One in three homes across the United States housing children under the age of six has significant lead-based paint hazards that place occupants at risk of permanent neurological harm and lifelong poor health risks. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the potential for lead exposure and lead poisoning increased due to a reduction in well child visits, strained public health departments, the move to remote learning and strategies to contain the COVID-19 pandemic that required shelter in place. As the United States works to contain the virus, it must also prioritize the control of lead hazards to prevent permanent harm to children. Federal, state, and local governments must use a range of primary prevention strategies in order to fully eradicate the risks and protect children from lead poisoning. This Article provides a comprehensive examination of best practices for addressing lead poisoning and proposes urgent reform measures at the local and state levels. Successful interventions ultimately prioritize health justice strategies and rely on community ownership and cross-sector participation; dedicate significant resources and funding to completely eliminate lead in the environment; and prioritize primary prevention practices that identify lead-based paint hazards before children are exposed.

Suggested Citation

Benfer, Emily and Coffey, Emily and Gold, Allyson and Hanna-Attisha, Mona and Lanphear, Bruce P. and Li, Helen and Norton, Ruth Ann and Rosner, David and Walz, Kate, Health Justice Strategies to Eradicate Lead Poisoning: an Urgent Call to Action to Safeguard Future Generations (September 15, 2020). Yale Journal of Health Policy, Law, and Ethics, Vol. 19, No. 2, 2020, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3692852

Emily Benfer (Contact Author)

Wake Forest University - School of Law ( email )

P.O. Box 7206
Winston-Salem, NC 27109
United States

Emily Coffey

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

Mona Hanna-Attisha

Michigan State University ( email )

Agriculture Hall
East Lansing, MI 48824-1122
United States

Bruce P. Lanphear

University of British Columbia (UBC) - BC Children's Hospital and Child & Family Research Institute ( email )

University of British Columbia
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada

Simon Fraser University (SFU) - Faculty of Health Sciences ( email )

8888 University Drive
Burnaby, British Columbia V5A 1S6
Canada

Helen Li

Connecticut Legal Services ( email )

62 Washington St
4th Floor
Middletown, CT 06457
United States

Ruth Ann Norton

Green & Healthy Homes Initiative ( email )

United States

David Rosner

Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health ( email )

600 West 168th St., 6th Floor
New York, NY 10032
United States
212-305-1727 (Phone)
212-342-1986 (Fax)

Kate Walz

Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law ( email )

Chicago, IL
United States

No contact information is available for Allyson Gold

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