Newswise — Fiona McNeill, a professor of Medical Physics and Applied Radiation at McMaster University, and a leading researcher on the impact of lead poisoning, is available to comment on the crisis in Flint, Michigan.
“We read news headlines that the children of Flint have been poisoned by lead,” says McNeill. “What the headlines don’t say is that their parents were also more likely to have been lead poisoned as children, because the city has a majority black population.”
“The unpalatable fact is that one of the factors that the US government identified twenty years ago as being a risk for high blood lead levels in children was being black. This was in addition to risk factors of low income, old housing and living in a large city,” she says.
At McMaster, McNeill and her research team have developed unique x-ray technology which allows them to quantify the lead levels in bone painlessly and non-invasively. They studied adults who had been poisoned as children and found that lead was still stored in their bones twenty years later.
McNeill has published over 100 peer-reviewed articles on exposure to lead, arsenic, uranium and fluoride.
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