The Environmental Protection Agency measures the success or failure of Superfund site remediation efforts against remedial action objectives (RAOs).
RAOs are frequently based on environmental contaminant concentrations, but with lead exposure, blood lead levels from the population at risk are often used. Although childhood lead screening is an important public health tool, an RAO based on child blood lead levels raises ethical concerns: public health efforts that are more reactive than preventive, a blood lead level (10 g/dL) hat may not be fully protective, the use of a measure whose validity and reliability may be easily comprised, and exacerbation of environmental injustice and systemic disadvantages.
The example of Bunker Hill mine, Kellogg, Idaho, allowed an examination of these ethical concerns. (Author abstract)