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Economic Costs of Childhood Lead Exposure in Low- & Middle-Income Countries

This interactive map reflects the results of research by New-York University that estimates the economic costs linked to childhood lead exposure in low- and middle-income countries. Information as average lead level, cost for countries and population at risk under the age of five are available for selected countries.

Exposure to lead has a permanent negative impact on children's developing brains. One impact is a reduction in intelligence quotient (IQ), which can be correlated with decreases in lifetime earning potential. Lead exposure has already affected the lives of many of children around the world. Unless measures to prevent exposure become a priority, many more children will continue to be affected. This map is intended to raise awareness of the economic impact of lead exposure in low- and middle-income countries and the need for action.

Estimates of the economic costs of preventable lead exposure in children have been useful for decision makers in certain parts of the world, but until now, have not been available for LMICs. Without clear estimates of the country-level costs of childhood lead exposure, it can be easy to underestimate the importance of this public health issue and the magnitude of the impact of any public policy aimed at reducing lead exposure.

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