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The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster

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ISBN: 978-0-262-20167-4, $29.95 The adverse health outcomes associated with lead exposure were known in ancient times, but knowledge of adverse effects associated with high levels of exposure to lead and the realization that subtle (and not so subtle) effects may be occurring at much lower may not be readily seen by even the most astute scientists and physicians... But eventually Troesken comes to implicate slow but insidious poisoning by lead leached from pipes delivering water to Galler’s home... Galler’s physician did not note any overt signs of “classic” lead poisoning, but exhumation and autopsy of Galler’s body revealed additional evidence of the ravages of long-term, low-level lead... Troesken’s story unfolds slowly, as did the development of understanding of the problem itself: It took nearly 50 years, from the 1880s through the early 1930s, before the medical and scientific community fully recognized the impact associated with low-level lead exposure... Initially, few believed that the levels of lead found in municipal water supplies could cause any harm at all... Although high exposures were known to cause effects, the observed low levels were deemed innocuous... Yet data showed higher fractions of spontaneous abortion, neurologic effects, and digestive problems in regions with lead water-delivery systems and acidic water supplies than in comparable regions without these factors... Although scientists and physicians were wrestling with the subtle and sometimes conflicting data on health outcomes associated with lead exposure, politicians, urban planners, and city leaders were wrestling with the costs, both fiscal and political, of assessing and fixing the problem... Readers may find similarities in this conflict between science and politics with current issues on climate change... As with climate change, early data collected on the effects of lead were uncertain and contradictory... However, eventually the scientific and medical communities came to a consensus that the lead pipe delivery systems were to blame, paralleling current thought on climate change data... There are a few other minor flaws, but these are quibbles... On balance, Troesken’s book is quite solid and is recommended to all those interested in the history of this specific problem or of public health epidemiology in general.

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The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster
© Copyright Policy - public-domain
Related In: Results  -  Collection

License
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getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2199299&req=5

View Article: PubMed Central

AUTOMATICALLY GENERATED EXCERPT
Please rate it.

ISBN: 978-0-262-20167-4, $29.95 The adverse health outcomes associated with lead exposure were known in ancient times, but knowledge of adverse effects associated with high levels of exposure to lead and the realization that subtle (and not so subtle) effects may be occurring at much lower may not be readily seen by even the most astute scientists and physicians... But eventually Troesken comes to implicate slow but insidious poisoning by lead leached from pipes delivering water to Galler’s home... Galler’s physician did not note any overt signs of “classic” lead poisoning, but exhumation and autopsy of Galler’s body revealed additional evidence of the ravages of long-term, low-level lead... Troesken’s story unfolds slowly, as did the development of understanding of the problem itself: It took nearly 50 years, from the 1880s through the early 1930s, before the medical and scientific community fully recognized the impact associated with low-level lead exposure... Initially, few believed that the levels of lead found in municipal water supplies could cause any harm at all... Although high exposures were known to cause effects, the observed low levels were deemed innocuous... Yet data showed higher fractions of spontaneous abortion, neurologic effects, and digestive problems in regions with lead water-delivery systems and acidic water supplies than in comparable regions without these factors... Although scientists and physicians were wrestling with the subtle and sometimes conflicting data on health outcomes associated with lead exposure, politicians, urban planners, and city leaders were wrestling with the costs, both fiscal and political, of assessing and fixing the problem... Readers may find similarities in this conflict between science and politics with current issues on climate change... As with climate change, early data collected on the effects of lead were uncertain and contradictory... However, eventually the scientific and medical communities came to a consensus that the lead pipe delivery systems were to blame, paralleling current thought on climate change data... There are a few other minor flaws, but these are quibbles... On balance, Troesken’s book is quite solid and is recommended to all those interested in the history of this specific problem or of public health epidemiology in general.

No MeSH data available.