On Friday, November 9, 2018, a Chicago Tribune headline read Firm Cited for Lead in Tainted Indy Areas (Hawthorne, 2018, p. 4). The story discusses the lead contamination in northwest Indiana. It details the role government officials played in allowing this exposure to continuously be a problem throughout the past few years. Now, air quality levels in the area are twice the legal limit according to the standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency. The article refers to lead as a brain-damaging metal that has the capability to permanently damage the developing brains of children (Hawthorne, 2018). This article focuses on the negligence of government officials in attending to the lead exposure problem in this area. However, lead exposure is not limited to one area, and Indiana government officials are not the only ones ignoring a prevalent environmental issue.
Lead exposure is an important national and international issue. Researchers publish new studies each year increasing the knowledge regarding the adverse effects of lead. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) previously declared certain blood lead levels safe for children and adults. This safe level has continuously been reduced over the years. As Ris, Dietrich, Succop, Berger, & Bornschein (2003) note, in 1970, the blood-lead level of exposure considered dangerous was 60g/dL or higher. In 1971, it became 40g/dL, and in 1978, it decreased to 30g/dL. By 1985, the highest acceptable level was 25g/dL (Ris et. al., 2003). Earlier studies used this benchmark number to determine that adverse effects occur well below this 25g/dL amount (Bellinger, Leviton, Waternuax, Needleman, & Rabinowitz, 1987). More recent studies have continued to find harmful effects of lead exposure at even lower levels. The safe level was reduced to 10g/dL in 1991 (Dietrich, Berger, Succop, Hammond, & Bornschein, 1993). Currently, the CDC declares that there is no safe level of lead exposure, especially in young children (Ris et al., 2003).
Even with more knowledge regarding the effects of lead on young children, lead exposure is still a problem today. As Hanna-Attisha, LaChance, Sadler, and Schnepp (2016) note in their recent study, in Flint,
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