Media Headlines Cause Panic on Lead Poisoning: Get the Facts

fruit-424182_1280The water was brown and it smelled and tasted bad but the people in Flint, Michigan were told their drinking water was fine. For months this went on until a pediatrician named Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha did the only thing she could think of: she tested the water for contaminates. What she found was astonishing: the percentage of children in Flint with lead poisoning had doubled. “In some neighborhoods, it actually tripled,” says Hanna-Attisha. Her findings went against the trend in the U.S., which was seeing blood lead levels (BLLs) drop every year.

“Since the ‘horrific tragedy’ in Flint’s water,” says Sue Gunderson, Executive Director, CLEARCorps (CCUSA) “there’s been a competition in the media for which city in the U.S. has the highest rate of lead exposure. “The fact is,” Sue added, “different researchers use different methods of lead analysis to determine the level. This leads to ‘an apples versus oranges’ type of comparison.” For the most accurate rates the media should go to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). CDC is the official center for lead poisoning statistics in this country.”

Lead has a cumulative long-term impact on the body and with each new year a new generation of children are being poisoned.

“We were so successful at reducing the number of lead poisoning cases in children in America,” says Gunderson, “that the public felt we ‘fixed’ the lead problem — but we did not. Our mission is to eliminate lead poisoning for good — for everyone.”

When the media claims that your state has the “most of anything” in the U.S., please contact the CDC or CCUSA at

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