Lead is famously toxic, especially for children. No amount of lead exposure is safe. It can damage almost every organ and system in the body; it lowers IQ; and it's strongly associated with learning and behavior problems. Many of lead's effects can be irreversible. For all these reasons, reducing exposure to lead, particularly during early childhood, is of enormous public health significance. To this end, public health agencies have an important role to play in designing and implementing effective policies and programs.
This summer, the UW SRP traveled to Kellogg, Idaho to visit with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and community partners at the Bunker Hill Superfund Site. Community Engagement Manager BJ Cummings was accompanied by toxicologist Dr. Steve Gilbert from the UW Department of Environmental and Occupational Health Sciences, and UW Communications Leadership Program intern Sukai Gaye. The team toured the epicenter of the Superfund site and several repositories along the Coeur d’Alene River where wastes from the site are stored.
Recently the University of Washington Superfund Research Program helped develop an eLearning Module for health professionals titled “Pediatric Lead Exposure: Diagnosis, Management and Prevention” which can be taken for continuing education credit. The module was created in partnership with the Northwest Pediatric Environmental Health Specialty Units and the Panhandle Health District to raise awareness about risks associated with lead exposure and to promote lead medical surveillance in the Bunker Hill Superfund Site area, within Idaho’s Coeur d’Alene River Basin.