Children's Health, Health, Lead Experts/Research, What's at Stake

PUBLIC HEARING TODAY! DR. HOWARD MIELKE: Internationally recognized lead expert to discuss health dangers to children from lead in soil

Internationally recognized scientist, researcher and lead expert, Howard Mielke, PhD, will speak about the lingering danger of lead in soil and its negative impact on children during the TCEQ public hearing today about Exide’s lead smelterDr. Howard Mielke. The public hearing will be held at Frisco City Hall. An informal Q&A session with TCEQ officials will begin at 5 p.m., and the pubic hearing will begin at 6 p.m.

Mielke’s work on accumulated environmental sources of lead and its association with childhood lead poisoning in inner city environments is recognized as pioneering research. His research also highlighted the need to remove lead from gasoline, and it played a key role in that successful effort.

It has been proven that there is no safe level of lead exposure for humans. Scientists have proven that exposure to lead, even at low levels, may impair children’s intelligence, learning capabilities and behavior, and contribute to high blood pressure and heart disease and other health risks in adults.

The Exide lead smelter was classified as being in a “nonattainment” area because air quality monitoring data from 2007 to 2009 showed that it did not meet the Environmental Protection Agency’s health-based standard for air quality.

The proposed Agreed Order Exide is trying to craft with the TCEQ would allow the company to do the minimum to barely bring it into legal compliance for safe air quality, and nothing at all to address soil and water contamination that was indicated in a recent EPA report on the plant.

Lead poisoning is now endemic in inner-city areas of major U.S. cities. In New Orleans, where Mielke also is a bioenvironmental professor at Tulane University, a quarter of all children are excessively exposed to lead, according to recent studies.

Although the United States has seen a significant decline in lead poisoning, lead’s toxic legacy remains in the soils of cities, especially so in communities such as Frisco with decades-old lead smelters such as Exide’s, which is under pressure to increase production.

Fortunately, people like Mielke, geoscientists and others are working with ways to find ways combat this health problem and to close the book on lead poisoning in the environment.

Mielke’s biography and his list of publications regarding lead and health issues are available through the Tulane Xavier Center for Biomedical Research.

Come learn from Howard Mielke at today’s public hearing. You also will want to get your copy of the map that shows 125 children and family friendly key Frisco locations such as schools and playgrounds that are within a five-mile radius of the Exide lead smelter.


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