National Road was the first federally funded highway, built from 1811 to 1834.
It had heavy daily traffic that included thousands of Conestoga wagons,
the "tractor-trailer" of that era.
Those wagons, designed to carry
heavy freight, passed through farm areas from Baltimore to Illinois, close to
major lead mines in Southeast Missouri.
the red barn tradition
never took root along that path is likely because the National Road made
freight, including white lead, accessible to nearby farmers.
output was a relatively stable 1000 to 2000 tons per year from 1801-1825, but
lead output was 15,000 to 30,000 tons per year from the mid-1830s through the
mid-1860s after the completion of the National Road.
murder arrest rate in large cities
was more than seven times the national homicide rate from 1900-1904 because
lead paint in the 1870s
was available in large cities but unavailable in most rural areas.
early-1900s convergence in
rural and urban murder rates was presaged by a late-1800s convergence in
rural and urban lead paint exposure.
Almost all children born in the USA
from 1880-1980 were exposed to lead
contaminated dust, but with widely varying degrees of lead poisoning
Atmospheric emissions from gas lead affected blood lead even
in rural areas, but traffic caused more severe city exposure because 55% of
emissions settled within 12 miles of the roadway." - Rick
May 1925 "US Surgeon General called a national
conference, to be followed by the formation of an investigative task force to
study the problem.
That same year, Midgley published his
first health analysis of
acknowledged a minor health risk at
most, insisting that the use of lead compounds, "compared with other
chemical industries it is neither grave nor inescapable." - Deborah Blum
The task force choses to downplay the risks and Thomas Midgley is
chosen for the white lead whitewash.
antiknock agents, with tetraethyl lead being the
principal one of them used in his leaded gasoline; the extraction of bromine
from sea water; and the use of fluorine to produce refrigerating compounds.
Thomas Midgley Jr. contributed to
the poisoning of three
generations of children, increased the risk of skin cancer and other skin
problems related to exposure to UV rays, and contributed greatly to global
Public health service
released its report which concluded that there was "no danger" posed by adding
TEL to gasoline
" no reason to prohibit the sale of leaded gasoline" as
long as workers were well protected during the manufacturing
There was a huge drop in violence when TEL is removed from
1983 Federal government designates
Picher and Cardin, Oklahoma as a Tar Creek Superfund site.
Take a Tour
of America's Most Toxic Town
amendments to the Clean Air Act,
lead is banned from gasoline and to be completely phase out within five
1993 63% of the children of Picher,
Oklahoma are suffering from lead poisoning.
Kids ride their bikes up and
down the chat piles.
Kids drink the water contaminated with
"Though Picher is a
ghost town, a
stalwart few have remained to keep watch over the remaining buildings and
homes. These self-proclaimed "chat rats" live with the ghost of a town that
once was. For them, Picher is the only home they've known and their hometown
pride is unshakable. Toxic air, sinking ground, and tornadoes can't drive them
out." - Bobbie Jean Sawyer
Jeremy Bryan Jones: Profile of a Chat Rat
FBI Computer Error Possibly Fatal
January 1, 1996 Clean Air Act bans the sale of the small
amount of leaded fuel still available in some parts of the country for use in
states fuel containing lead may continue to be sold for off-road uses,
including aircraft, racing cars, farm equipment, and marine engines.
2002 New York City lead poisoning
identified in 4,000 children under age and over 500 lead poisoning cases
identified in children ages 6 to 17.
California health officials
estimate that 15% of the states' children diagnosed with elevated lead levels between May
2001 and January 2002 were exposed to lead from candy,
pottery and folk medicines
DC Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) becomes aware of
the lead levels in 2002, but does not notify customers until November 2003.
Lead supply pipes feed many older single family homes of which over 150
had lead levels of over 300 ppb. The federal safety level is 15
Observers at Columbia
University have found that "babies exposed to high levels of lead in the womb
are more than twice as likely to develop
EPA data analyzed by the Washington
Post identified 274 utilities serving some 11.5 million people who
reported unsafe lead in drinking water since 2000.
showed that municipalities across the nation;
Lansing, New York and
Washington DC, are masking the true levels of lead in
A study at Harvard Medical School found a
link to lead exposure and
the development of
cataracts in men over 60.
The study found that men who had the
highest lead levels were 2.7 times more likely to have cataracts than those
with the lowest levels.
2005 One in five children
tested in Cleveland, Ohio is lead poisoned and in some neighborhoods 50% of the
children suffer from lead poisoning.
Hirschberg Schultz & Co. Inc.,
million metal charms sold in Arts & Craft stores after a 6 year old
California girl was lead poisoned after putting one in her mouth.
charms, sold as decorations for greeting cards and gift bags as well as for
necklaces and bracelets, were manufactured in China.
State of North
Carolina recorded its first case of lead poisoning caused by lead in household
The source of the lead is believed to be household
Wisconsin Supreme Court found that "...the record is replete
with evidence that shows the pigment manufacturers actually magnified the risk
[of lead poisoning] through their aggressive promotion of white lead carbonate,
even despite the awareness of the toxicity of lead."
Defendants in this
case include: American
Lead, SCM Chemicals (Hanson Limited, formerly Hanson
PLC1) and Sherwin-Williams.
Island estimates that over 36,000 children in the state have lead poisoning.
Third Circuit US Court of Appeals ruled that successor companies can be
held liable for cleanup costs caused by polluting activities of acquired
The court found US Battery Corp. liable for
lead contaminated soil at five dumpsites
in Pennsylvania where companies acquired by the firm dumped wastes from the
1930s through 1966.
2006 California's Attorney
General joins environmental groups in a lawsuit against retailers and
distributors of children's jewelry after discoveries that the jewelry contained
lead levels as high as 950,000 parts per million.
the lawsuit by agreeing to pay $1.87 million.
The settlement also
called for the companies to stop selling jewelry with high lead content no
later than 3/1/08.
The settlement sets strict
standards for the lead level in children's' jewelry. Metal elements and
coatings will be limited to 600 parts of lead per million.
components will be limited to 200 parts of lead per million.
study in women 65 and older indicates that the more lead circulating in the
blood of golden girls, the higher the likelihood these women will die
prematurely." - Janet Raloff 04/06/09
2014 Officials looking to save money switched Flint, Michigan's drinking
water supply from the Detroit city system to the Flint River.
Flint River water is highly corrosive.
Flint residents complain about
dark-colored, foul-tasting, smelly water as well as skin rashes and hair loss.
Independent tests find a significant proportion of samples have lead
levels well above the "action level" set by the EPA.
Some samples show
lead levels 100 times above the action level.
9,000 children are
exposed to lead contaminated water.
1996 Several journalists felt the breakup of Hanson PLC marked the end
of the conglomerate era.
Quantum and SCM was demerged as Millennium
Chemicals Inc., a primarily UK-based operation; and the tobacco group was
demerged as Tobacco Group PLC, primarily UK-based.
February 24, 1997 Energy group demerged as The Energy Group
PLC, which was comprised mainly of the UK-based Eastern Electricity and the
US-based coal producer Peabody.
This left Hanson PLC as primarily a building materials
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