The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster

The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster

by Werner Troesken
     
 

ISBN-10: 0262701251

ISBN-13: 9780262701259

Pub. Date: 10/31/2008

Publisher: MIT Press

In The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster, Werner Troesken looks at a long-running environmental and public health catastrophe: 150 years of lead pipes in local water systems and the associated sickness, premature death, political inaction, and social denial. The harmful effects of lead water pipes became apparent almost as soon as cities the world over began to

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Overview

In The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster, Werner Troesken looks at a long-running environmental and public health catastrophe: 150 years of lead pipes in local water systems and the associated sickness, premature death, political inaction, and social denial. The harmful effects of lead water pipes became apparent almost as soon as cities the world over began to install them. Doctors and scientists noted cases of acute illness and death attributable to lead in public water beginning in the middle of the nineteenth century, and an editorial in the New York Herald called for the city to study the matter after a bizarre illness made headlines in 1868. But officials took no action for many years. New York City, for example, did not take any steps to reduce lead levels in water until 1992, long after the most serious damage had been done. By then, in any case, much of the old lead pipe had been replaced with safer materials.Troesken examines the health effects of lead exposure, analyzing cases from New York City, Boston, and Glasgow and many smaller towns in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and England. He draws on period accounts, government reports, court decisions, and economic and demographic analysis to document the widespread nature of the problem, the recognized health effects—particularly for pregnant women and young children—and official intransigence. He presents an accessible overview of the old and new science of lead exposure—explaining, for example, why areas with soft water suffered more harmful effects than areas with hard water. And he gives us compelling and vivid accounts of the people and politics involved. The effects of lead in water continue to be felt; many older houses still have lead service pipes. The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster is essential reading for understanding this past and ongoing public health problem.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780262701259
Publisher:
MIT Press
Publication date:
10/31/2008
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
328
Sales rank:
1,173,081
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.60(h) x 0.30(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Table of Contents


Acknowledgments     ix
Prologue: Exhuming Michael Galler     1
The Significance of the Small     9
A House for Erasmus     25
Fixing Alice     51
The Latent History of Eclampsia     77
The Secret of Dr. Porritt's Society     99
A False Sense of Simplicity     123
Responsibility in the Court of the Absurd     141
The Legend of Loch Katrine     169
Building on the Past     201
Estimating the Effects of Lead Water Pipes on Infant and Fetal Mortality     209
A Statistical Supplement to The Menace and Geography of Eclampsia     243
The Correlates of Lead Solvency     251
Notes     255
References     285
Index     311

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