This page exists to promote public conversation about lead – about how we must take action and how we can. It is for people who want to talk about talking about lead poisoning prevention.

If you are new to the lead issue, you should check out the National Center for Healthy Housing’s leadnet at www.nchh.org. That would also be a place to reach out to people who work on lead poisoning prevention or response.

I started this page after conducting many public conversations on lead. At first I worked with several others and we were called the Coalition for Public Conversation on Lead, now I just keep this website going to preserve the information from the conversations I have had.  I want to share information about lead poisoning prevention and to encourage others to talk about this issue, because the public conversations have shown over and over again how the problem can be solved.  The main problem is inattention.

If you are having conversations about how to move forward on lead, please send information to me at [email protected] and I may post it.

Talking about lead poisoning prevention fosters action on lead, because it doesn’t make sense to keep disseminating poison when we know we don’t have to do that.  We can reduce the quantity of sorrow which is visited upon so many innocents. So many things we spend time on are of questionable value. Raising awareness of how to reduce and eliminate lead poisoning is not one of them.

Almost twenty years ago, after enforcing the Lead Disclosure Rule for EPA and realizing people didn’t understand it, I created a continuing education course for realtors that I delivered in several states to thousands of real estate professionals. Surveys of attendees showed strong results of increased determination to be more responsible. I became convinced that education and reasoning are necessary adjuncts to the laws that are intended to protect from lead poisoning. I organized discussions of people working on lead at conferences for lead professionals and people who work on housing, so that their combined voices could be heard. With students I organized a meeting at the Massachusetts StateHouse to explain why we need to change laws that make it impossible to sue people who “recklessly place” in commerce products they know will cause lead risk, and do nothing to prevent it. I brought leading experts together to visit the Attorney General’s Office to urge them to consider a number of potential actions that would reduce the continuing significant risks we face in this state, once the leading state on lead poisoning. But these efforts have not amounted to very much, and I cannot devote full time to them.  Many more people need to attend to this.

Coming together to face a serious problem that affects us all is a useful thing to do. Some of the events produced consensus statements that provide useful introductions to the kinds of tasks necessary to get real progress on lead. For a prime example see the final report of the public conversations held for and with the Boston Public Health Commission, which combined the recommendations of dozens of experts:

https://www.boston.gov/sites/default/files/file/2021/07/CAL%20Project%20Final%20Report %207_1_2021.pdf



Rick Reibstein was a manager in the Massachusetts Toxics Use Reduction program for a quarter century, an enforcement attorney at the US Environmental Protection Agency and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and an environmental journalist and editor.  He has originated courses on pollution prevention, environmental law, and lead poisoning prevention. He is a full-time lecturer in Boston University’s Department of Earth and Environment on environmental law and policy, and is co-chief editor of the new journal Societal Impacts.  He is the author of Developing Sustainable Environmental Responsibility (2018) and Reconstructing Environmental Governance (2022).