About

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.

It has a Slack section so that members of the community of people who care about raising consciousness about how we can and should act to better prevent lead poisoning, can talk to each other. If you are new to the lead issue, you should check out the National Center for Healthy Housing’s leadnet. 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.

But though people readily agreed that I could use their name it is much easier to do work that is nearly entirely volunteer in an efficient manner, so it’s just me. But I welcome comment in the Slack section, and I would also be happy to post news of conversations you are having or have had – write to me at [email protected]. But this is a page I created so that I could share the work I do to foster action on lead, in the hopes that it will do that – foster similar action on lead. I hope it fosters similar action in order to reduce the quantity of sorrow which is visited upon 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.

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 (where he enforced lead laws) and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, and an environmental journalist and editor; has originated courses on pollution prevention, environmental law, and lead poisoning prevention. He is currently a full-time lecturer in Boston University’s Department of Earth and Environment on environmental law and policy, co-chief editor of the new journal Societal Impacts, and serves on his local Sustainability Committee.