NPR’s Fresh Air host Terry Gross interviews David Rosner and Gerald Markowitz co-authors of “Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of American Children.” In the book, Rosner and Markowitz describe how small exposure to lead can impair a child’s brain development, cause lasting learning challenges, and how the lead industry for years mislead the American public. Since Flint, Mich.'s ongoing lead pipe contamination crisis has been front and center, many other cities across the country are facing even worse rates of lead exposure such as Baltimore, Md.

Documents highlighted in the book show that the lead industry knowingly mislead the public when it came to the detrimental harms of lead exposure.

The lead industry went around the country saying to doctors, 'You haven't proved completely that lead is the cause of children going into convulsions and children dying. ... You need to do much more sophisticated studies. You need X-rays. You need a variety of other techniques.' And meanwhile, the medical community was saying the number of cases we have is a vast underestimate of the number of children, because the lead poisoning symptoms mimicked the results of high fevers and other kinds of conditions. But the lead industry was saying the opposite. They were saying, 'Lead poisoning was overstated and that doctors were misdiagnosing children.’

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