3409.0 Lead in Drinking Water: Children's Health and Policy

Monday, November 9, 2009: 4:30 PM
In the last four years, elevated lead in drinking water has arisen as an issue of concern for communities across the US, Canada, Australia, and Europe. Drinking water may not be the primary lead exposure source for most children in the US. However, it can be an important and even the main exposure source for infants, toddlers, and young children, particularly in areas with corrosive water and leaded plumbing. The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has estimated that lead-contaminated drinking water can constitute from 5% to more than 50% of children's total lead exposure. Infants who drink formula can receive over 85% of their total lead exposure from lead-contaminated water. Despite these estimates, and the finding of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) that about 1/3 of elevated blood lead level cases in the US have no identifiable lead paint source in the home, the conventional public health approach to protecting children from lead assumes that deteriorated leaded paint and dust are the principal exposure sources and overlooks drinking water. Similarly, guidance on blood testing focuses on older children who are crawling and considered to be at risk from exposure to leaded paint and dust and overlooks infants, the age group that is most vulnerable to lead-contaminated drinking water. This session will discuss key issues at the interface between public health, public policy, and science as they relate to lead at the tap and will explore effective ways to address a public health hazard that is often overlooked.
Session Objectives: 1. Discuss recent health-effects research on elevated blood lead levels from consumption of lead-contaminated drinking water. 2. List the ways in which federal legislation can be strengthened to better protect individuals from exposure to lead-contaminated drinking water. 3. Describe the special issues associated with control of lead-contaminated drinking water in schools and day care centers, and identify options for improving the existing voluntary system of addressing the risks.

5:06 PM

See individual abstracts for presenting author's disclosure statement and author's information.

Organized by: Environment
Endorsed by: Maternal and Child Health, Public Health Nursing, Socialist Caucus, School Health Education and Services, Statistics, Social Work

CE Credits: Medical (CME), Health Education (CHES), Nursing (CNE), Public Health (CPH)

See more of: Environment