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A thank you to Sen. Leahy

To the editor: We would like to publicly thank Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy for his long-standing and passionate support for global lead pollution prevention in low- and middle-income countries.

Today, one-third of the world’s children have a concentration of lead in their blood that the World Health Organization recognizes as causing permanent brain damage and IQ loss. The implications for global public health, economic growth, the environment, and societal violence are profound.

Historically, lead exposures were driven primarily by the use of leaded gasoline, lead-based paint and pipes. However, contemporary exposure sources in low- and middle-income countries now include emissions from unsafe recycling of lead-acid batteries, lead-adulterated spices, and contaminated metal and ceramic cookware. Just as we eliminated lead for gasoline, each of these exposure sources has data-driven solutions proven to be cost-effective.

United States leadership in addressing this critical public health issue has never been more critical. Senator Leahy has acted by appropriating much-needed federal funding for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) to address lead pollution at the source.

For that, we are deeply grateful and thank Senator Leahy for his bold leadership.

Richard Fuller

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President and Founder, Pure Earth

New York City

Adam Muellerweiss

President, Responsible Battery Coalition

Milwaukee, Wisc.

Dec. 7