Saint Louis University

graphic of childhood lead poisoning in the st. louis area
Brent Jones | St. Louis Beacon | 2010

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: A St. Louis University scholar thinks it's time for cities to refine the way they address lead hazards.

The attack on lead poisoning often begins with the discovery that a child has an elevated level of lead, usually exceeding 10 micrograms for each deciliter of blood. The next step involves a little detective work to find the source of the lead. It usually turns out to be peeling lead-tainted paint and lead dust in an older home. This approach, some say, amounts to making kids the equivalent of canaries in coal mines.

When the cabinet of the Interfaith Partnership of St. Louis held a retreat last week, the main item on the agenda was to discuss faith as a bridge over the area's racial divide.

But Batya Abramson-Goldstein, chair of the cabinet, said she realized another topic cried out for the group to discuss and take a stand -- the controversy over a Muslim center planned for a few blocks from Ground Zero in New York.

Dr. Frank R. Burton, whose research on chronic pancreatitis helped dispel the widely held assumption that sometimes led patients to be incorrectly labeled as problem drinkers, died of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (lung disease) at Saint Louis University Hospital on Monday (Aug. 2, 2010). He was 58.

Dr. Burton, a professor of internal medicine, suffered a heart attack in June while vacationing, but was recovering well when it was discovered that he had advanced lung disease. The illnesses were determined to be unrelated.

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