HD "We Thought There Were Laws to Protect Us From Lead"

"We Thought There Were Laws to Protect Us From Lead"

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This clip from the 2002 documentary «Kids & Chemicals» looks at the public health problems that occur when polluters aren’t properly punished and local leaders don’t listen to their communities.When Bill Moyers and his team originally reported this story for NOW, one in four of the children living near the Doe Run lead smelter in Herculaneum, Missouri, had blood lead levels of 10 micrograms per deciliter or higher. Eventually, the state found that close to half of the 67 children tested had blood lead levels exceeding that level. Today, a level of 5 is cause for serious concern and in fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there is no safe blood lead level in children. Even low levels of lead have been found to affect IQ, the ability to pay attention and academic achievement. What’s more, these effects of lead exposure are permanent.It took concerned parents in Herculaneum to bring attention to the toxic chemicals that were harming their children. Leslie and Jack Warden spent years trying to get the EPA and the Missouri Department of Natural Resources to take action. By that time they did, public health recommendations for children had become even more stringent based on the latest science. In 2004, the Wardens and the Missouri Coalition for the Environment filed a successful lawsuit that four years later prompted the EPA to adopt tougher, national air quality standards for lead.The Doe Run Company has said it would pay $65 million to correct violations of environmental laws at 10 of its lead mining and processing facilities in southeastern Missouri. And in 2013, after 121 years in operation, the Doe Run lead smelter in Herculaneum shut down completely: the company decided that under the requirements of the Clean Air Act, it would be too expensive to install the necessary pollution control technologies to reduce the emission of lead and sulfur dioxide.Watch the entire documentary at