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By Lilly Fowler, FairWarning paint1

Lead poisoning has been recognized as a major health problem in this country since at least the 1930s, but it continues to threaten many Americans, particularly children. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new guidelines last week estimating that roughly 535,000 youngsters may have unsafe levels of the toxic metal in their blood.

Lead is found in drinking water, in some children’s jewelry, and has many industrial uses. But the worst of the threat comes from lead-laden paint — now outlawed but often still found on the walls of old houses and apartments. Public health historians fault paint makers and marketers, along with regulators, landlords and others, for letting the hazard persist.