In 1980, Clair C. Patterson stated: “Sometime in the near future it probably will be shown that the older urban areas of the United States have been rendered more or less uninhabitable by the millions of tons of poisonous industrial lead residues that have accumulated in cities during the past century”. We live in the near future about which this quote expressed concern. This special volume of 19 papers explores the status of scientific evidence regarding Dr. Patterson’s statement on the habitability of the environments of communities. Authors from 10 countries describe a variety of lead issues in the context of large and small communities, smelter sites, lead industries, lead-based painted houses, and vehicle fuel treated with lead additives dispersed by traffic. These articles represent the microcosm of the larger health issues associated with lead. The challenges of lead risk require a concerted global action for primary prevention.
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