Lead Contamination and Public Health in Chicago

It’s important to understand the public health issues that greatly affect certain areas and cities, particularly if you are looking to work or collaborate with professionals who work in that city. In Chicago and the surrounding area, lead contamination and awareness has been a public health issue on the rise.

In 2017, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency warned residents of East Chicago that their tap water was contaminated with lead, caused by their water treatment system failing to prevent the metallic element from seeping out of pipes. Furthermore, lead-based paint is commonly found in housing projects and in homes built before 1978, which is the year lead-based paint was banned in the U.S.

Lead exposure is extremely dangerous for children, as they are still developing, and for pregnant women, as the lead can be passed on to the fetus. Lead exposure contributes to a range of developmental health issues, including delayed growth, lower IQs, anemia, learning difficulties, reduced kidney function and more.

How Can We Improve Public Health in Chicago and Beyond?

While the Chicago Department of Public Health does have a lead poisoning prevention program in place, there is still work that needs to be done to prevent communities from lead exposure, particularly communities in lower-income areas.

Communities across the country need public health advocates who are passionate about lead poisoning prevention. The online MPH program from GW trains students to be prepared to address important public health topics, such lead contamination.

Take the Next Step

Are you interested in gaining the knowledge and skills needed to improve public health across communities? Request information about MPH@GW today.

Sources:

https://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/cdph/supp_info/food_environ/childhood_lead_poisoningpreventionandhealthyhomesprogram1.html (2017)
https://www.apha.org/topics-and-issues/environmental-health/lead (2017)
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/watchdog/lead/ct-east-chicago-lead-water-20170302-story.html (2017)