Philadelphia building collapse; Lead Wars
June 6, 2013
Guests: Elizabeth Fiedler, David Rosner, Gerald Markowitz
We start out this hour getting an update on the Philadelphia building collapse from WHYY’s ELIZABETH FIEDLER which killed six people and injured 14 yesterday. The four-story building at 22nd and Market Streets was undergoing demolition when it was crashed down on the adjacent building that housed the Salvation Army Thrift shop. Then, the CDC estimates that more than half a million children ages one to five years have unsafe levels of lead in their blood. That’s remarkable given that the dangers of lead exposure have been understood for half a century. Lead poisoning is particularly dangerous for the developing brain, leading to permanent effects on young children’s IQ and behavior. And because there are no immediate symptoms, lead exposure often goes unnoticed until it’s too late. The story of this epidemic and the battle between health officials, industry and regulators is told by public health historians DAVID ROSNER and GERALD MARKOWITZ in their new book, “Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children.” Guest host Tracey Matisak talks to Rosner, a Professor of Public Health and History Columbia University, and Markowitz, a Professor of History at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and the City University of New York’s Graduate Center Children, about their investigation into this toxic history and the troubling legacy that remains.