Kansas City,
12:20 PM

Dr. Lowry to New York Times: Hundreds of thousands of U.S. children face threat of lead poisoning

To the Editor:

Re “Beyond Flint, Lead Poisoning Persists Despite Decades-Old Fight” (front page, March 4):

As a pediatrician specializing in toxicology, I lead the investigation when a child tests positive for lead. The water crisis in Flint, Mich., has crystallized our attention on lead pipes, but the fact is that hundreds of thousands of children across the United States face a daily threat of lead poisoning from many sources.

Often these children live in older communities, where lead lingers in the household dust and soil. Lead is in the paint, the pipes, toys, dishes, vinyl miniblinds and hobby materials. Parents with certain jobs pick up lead residue on their clothes, then come home to hug their children.

No level of lead exposure is safe for children. We cannot eliminate lead poisoning until we remove the sources of lead from children’s homes. To accomplish this, Congress must fund the surveillance programs of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that identify children at high risk, and then investigate their homes to discover and remove the sources of lead before children are exposed to lead.

Children in every community deserve a safe place to live, learn and grow.


Kansas City, Mo.

The writer is chairwoman of the Council on Environmental Health, American Academy of Pediatrics and Chief of the Section of Clinical Toxicology at Children’s Mercy Kansas City


Read the letter via The New York Times.

Learn more about Children's Mercy Clinical Pharmacology and Toxicology Division.