A tale of two cities: The decline in child exposure to lead...


Past Event

A tale of two cities: The decline in child exposure to lead...

May 3, 2022
9:00 AM - 12:00 PM

A tale of two cities: The decline in child exposure to lead in Paris and New York


Blood-lead levels have declined dramatically in both Paris and New York over the past 50 years.

This is good news because early-life exposure to lead has been clearly been implicated in increased likelihood of diminished intellectual function in children, learning and behavioral difficulties at school, juvenile detention, as well as reduced income and cardio-vascular disease later in life. The decline in lead exposure in both cities is primarily the result of bans on the use of lead-based paint in the 1970s and the phasing out of lead additives to gasoline in the subsequent decade. This doesn’t mean avoidable lead exposure of children has ended in both cities or elsewhere around the world. A significant number of children still ingest chips of old lead-based paint, play in areas where soil is contaminated with legacy lead from gasoline and other sources, or drink water supplied by lead pipes.

The goal of this workshop is to review progress made in Paris and New York to reduce lead exposure in recent decades and the extent to which continued exposure could and should be reduced further. Studies documenting still higher levels of exposure in other parts of the world where lead-based paint is widely sold or leaded-gasoline was banned only more recently will provide further perspective. The workshop will feature presentations by university-based health scientists and geochemists as well as public health managers for the government and environmental activists.


Paris: Lex van Geen, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and Institute Science Visitor

New York: Brian Mailloux, Barnard College

For speaker information and to register for this event, please go to https://ideasimagination.columbia.edu/events/a-tale-of-two-cities-the-decline-in-child-exposure-to-lead-in-paris-and-new-york

Contact Information

Lex van Geen