Old Paint: A Medical History of Childhood Lead-Paint Poisoning in the United States to 1980

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Old Paint documents the history of lead-paint poisoning in the United States and the evolving responses of public health officials and the lead-paint industry to this hazard up to 1980, by which time lead had been banned in gasoline and paint. Peter C. English traces lead poisoning from a rare, but acute problem confined to a small group of children to the discovery by the end of the 1940s of the dangers of the crumbling lead-painted interiors of inner-city dwellings. He draws on a wide range of primary materials not only to illuminate our understanding of how this health hazard changed over time, but also to explore how diseases are constructed and evolve.
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Editorial Reviews

Medical historian English provides a valuable historical account of childhood lead-paint poisoning from its discovery in Australia in the late 1800s to about 1980. . . . Well written and very well researched.
author of Time to Heal: American Medical Education from the Turn of the Century - Kenneth M. Ludmerer
A compelling history, and a fascinating account of how perceptions of disease change in response to scientific and cultural circumstances. An outstanding, highly recommended book.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813529875
  • Publisher: Rutgers University Press
  • Publication date: 9/1/2001
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

PETER C. ENGLISH, M.D. is a professor of history and a professor of pediatrics at Duke University. He is the author of Rheumatic Fever: A Clinical, Scientific, and Epidemiological History (Rutgers University Press).
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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations



Part I Lead Poisoning before 1920

Chapter 1 Children and Lead before 1920

Chapter 2 The Queensland Epidemic

Chapter 3 The Scientific Study of the American Workplace

Chapter 4 Lead Hazards, Lead Safety, and Alice Hamilton

Part II Gnawing Toddlers

Chapter 5 Children and the Lead Industries Association, 1925–1935

Chapter 6 Baltimore, Boston, and Robert Kehoe, 1930–1940

Part III Peeling and Flaking Paint

Chapter 7 A 1950s Transformation

Chapter 8 The Urban Ecology

Chapter 9 New Therapies

Part IV Industry and Public Health Responses

Chapter 10 One Percent Lead Content for Paint

Chapter 11 Urban Lead Programs of the 1950s and 1960s

Chapter 12 Children and Lead, 1960–1965

Part V The New Ecology

Chapter 13 A “Submerged” National Epidemic

Chapter 14 Air Pollution and an Epidemic Redefined

Chapter 15 Dust, Dirt, and Mouthing in 1980





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