National Library of Medicine exhibition on display at the EI Clearinghouse

image of flyer for This Lead Is Killing Us exhibit

The Illinois Early Intervention Clearinghouse (EIC) is excited to announce we are hosting a national exhibition! The National Library of Medicine produced This Lead Is Killing Us: A History of Citizens Fighting Lead Poisoning in Their Communities, guest curated by historian and educator Richard M. Mizelle, Jr, PhD (University of Houston) will be on display at the EIC this summer June 3 – July 15, 2024 during business hours.

Each year in Illinois, thousands of children are poisoned by lead, often through exposure in their homes. Young children are more vulnerable to the effects of lead poisoning because their brains are still developing. As a result of effective stakeholder advocacy, Illinois has become a national leader in supporting families of children with lead poisoning. The General Assembly passed legislation that provides automatic early intervention eligibility and services for children with elevated blood lead levels greater or equal to 5 micrograms per deciliter, effective July 2020. Health care providers are required to perform an annual testing of children from 6 months of age through 6 years of age determined to be at high risk for lead exposure.

The traveling banner exhibition and companion website explore the story of citizen action taken against an environmental danger. Lead exposure can cause neurological problems and sometimes even death; yet this metal has been pervasive in many aspects of American life for over a century. Historically, mining, battery manufacturing, smelting, and enameling industries included lead in their production processes, impacting factory workers and consumers. Manufacturers added lead to household paints and gasoline, endangering the health of families and polluting the air through exhaust fumes. To protect themselves against the dangers of lead poisoning, scientists, families, and individuals opposed industries, housing authorities, and elected officials.

This Lead is Killing Us includes an education component featuring a K-12 lesson plan that challenges students to examine historical cases of lead poisoning through primary and secondary sources. A digital gallery features a curated selection of fully digitized items from NLM Digital Collections that showcase numerous historical scientific studies and reports about the dangers of lead.

Related Resources:

Article: Addressing Lead Poisoning Prompts Paradigm Shift in EI
Article: EI Provides Critical Supports for Children with Lead Exposure