Lead Paint Poisoning 1972 National Bureau of Standards
This film gives an overview (from 1972) of the lead paint problem and of some of the steps being taken by the Federal Government, particularly the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the National Bureau of Standards (since 1989 renamed the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to solve the problem. The film describes an outdated view of the problem of childhood lead poisoning as caused by repeated ingestion of chips and flakes of lead containing paint and plaster from the walls, windowsills, and woodwork of pre-World-War-II houses; having a high incidence only among children living in city slums,
where accessibility to flaking and peeling lead paint and broken plaster, lack of knowledge among parents that ingestion of lead paint is dangerous and even lethal, frequent inadequate parental supervision of young children, and a high incidence of pica (an appetite for nonfood items such as dirt, paper, paint, and plaster) all favor lead poisoning. During the 1980s, scientific evidence accumulated showing that childhood lead exposure was caused primarily by exposure to lead dust from lead paint in homes and that no safe level of exposure appeared to exist. In 1992, Congress passed the Housing and Community Development Act (Public Law 102--550), which included as Title X the "Residential Lead-Based Paint Hazard Reduction Act of 1992." Title X is a comprehensive law designed to direct the Nation's response to the public health problem of lead-based paint hazards in housing. This law also directed the Occupational Safety and Health Administration to increase the protection for workers exposed to lead hazards throughout the construction industry. For more information on lead paint hazards and their control, go to the EPA Lead website at http://www2.epa.gov/lead. For a detailed history of lead in paint, read Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America's Children written by noted historians Gerald Markowitz and David Rosner published by the California/Milbank Books on Health and the Public in April 2013
(http://www.ucpress.edu/book.php?isbn=9780520273252). Their book examines lead poisoning during the past half century, one of the most contentious and bitter battles in the history of public health. Lead Wars details how the nature of the epidemic has changed and highlights the dilemmas public health agencies face today in terms of prevention strategies and chronic illness linked to low levels of toxic exposure.