By Gerald Markowitz, David Rosner
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Extra resources for Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America's Children
53 In this light, the history of the KKI research could be seen as a tragedy rather than a melodrama: a fight between two defensible conceptions of the public good rather than a fight between the forces of good and evil. indd 22 30/01/13 4:53 PM A Legacy of Neglect / 23 public good both ethically justifiable with respect to putting others knowingly in harm’s way? Could not valuable research be—and have been—done on levels of abatement without putting children in harm’s way, with a differently designed study?
Newspapers are filled with stories of children who have been poisoned by the lead paint on imported toys, lead solder on children’s jewelry, lead from pipes that deliver water to homes, lead in soil tainted by leaded gasoline that once powered cars, lead spewed from smelters in the United States and throughout the world, and, still most importantly, lead from paint that remains on the walls of nearly all houses built before 1960 or that was applied in many other homes until lead paint was banned in 1978.
In the 1930s Baltimore’s health commissioner identified lead paint as a major source of injury to children, and since the 1950s Johns Hopkins had numbered among its faculty the foremost lead researchers in the nation, including Julian Chisolm, perhaps the preeminent university lead researcher of the middle decades of the twentieth century—and the co-principal investigator for the KKI study. The irony of this history is unmistakable. 18 John was a well-nourished, playful, and cooperative child, with no history of developmental problems, according to the admitting nurse.