Science Café Cleveland – Eliminating Childhood Lead Poisoning: Is it Worth the Cost?


Talk Science, Drink Beer

  • Venue:Concert Hall
  • Showtime:7:00 pm
  • Doors open:5:30 pm
  • All Ages, Free Admission

Join scientists from across the region for a lively discussion of science topics.
These events are FREE/no cover charge and open to the public.
A full menu and bar are available.

John Sobolewski
Deputy Director, Cuyahoga County Board of Health
In 2003, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declared lead poisoning “one of the most common and preventable pediatric health problems today.” Lead is a naturally occurring element found throughout the environment. It is also a potent neurotoxin that affects the central nervous system, and is very harmful to the developing nervous systems of fetuses and young children. Overt health effects are rare, but early exposure to lead, even at low levels, has been shown to adversely affect IQ and impulse control, leading to profound individual and societal impacts and associated costs.

While the national prevalence rate of lead poisoning is currently less than 0.5%, low income minority children suffer disproportionately from the effects of lead in their environment. Since 1997, more than 45,000 children aged 6 years or younger in Cuyahoga County have been identified to have blood lead levels greater than 10µg/dL. In 2016 alone, 8.2%, or 1,883 children, were identified with elevated blood lead levels. A recent local foundation initiative estimated the cost for lead elimination, and this has prompted a debate as to whether it is worthwhile to make significant current investments in lead elimination to offset long term societal costs.

Event Sponsors

  • The Case Western Reserve chapter of Sigma Xi
  • WCPN ideastream
  • ACES+ program at Case Western Reserve University
  • Music Box Supper Club

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