Cover photo
Howard Mielke (Lead Lab)
Works at Tulane University School of Medicine
Attended Macalester College
Lives in New Orleans, LA
6 followers|13,538 views


Dr. Howard Mielke and Dr. Renata Ribiero appeared on NPR and WWNO recently to talk about lead, New Orleans, and mockingbirds.
Elevated lead levels in the environment can cause a number of health problems for children and adults, and parts of New Orleans have consistently tested
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From the Lead Lab archive:
A trash and ash deposition location was discovered along Bayou St. John directly across the street of the U.S. Post Office, and along Jefferson Davis Parkway between Lafitte Street and Orleans Avenue.  The photos illustrate the exposure and cleanup of the dumpsite in the summer and fall of 1998.

Interested readers may want to read Dr. Mielke's associated unfinished paper: "Comparison of an Urban and Rural Environment: Lead, Zinc and Cadmium in Soils, Sediments and Water of Bayou Saint John and Jean Lafitte National Historic Park".  Link to paper here:
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A great article about lead poisoning and safety violations at America's shooting ranges.

#lead  #leadpoisoning #guns #shootingranges  
Lead poisoning is a major threat at America's shooting ranges, perpetuated by owners who've repeatedly violated laws even after workers have fallen ill.
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"WE ARE USING OUR CHILDREN TO TEST THE ENVIRONMENT." If you concerned about the very real dangers of exposure to even small amounts of lead, you definitely will want to watch and share this video - especially if you have children.

This is an excerpt from the Sept. 18, 2012, Vero Beach, FL, city council meeting where globally noted research scientist Howard Mielke, PhD., gave a presentation about the real dangers of exposure to even a very small amount of lead. 
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+Howard Mielke is seen here appearing before the U.S. Senate in 1984 to discuss the problems caused by leaded gasoline. The photo is inscribed by the Honorable Dave Durenburger, U. S. Senator: Thanks, Howard - With your help we're "getting the lead out!"

Dr. Mielke's testimony is availabe as a PDF here:
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Dr. Mielke in the New Orleans Advocate:

Participants in a lead remediation workshop organized by Groundwork New Orleans got to observe soil analysis firsthand Sunday in the Earth Lab environmental classroom in a lot adjacent to the Healing Center on St. Claude Avenue.

The free workshop, “Living With Soil: Issues, Outcomes and Interventions in New Orleans,” was offered to homeowners, landlords, renters and urban gardeners concerned about lead contamination.

Dr. Howard Mielke, a research professor in Tulane Medical School’s department of pharmacology and a nationally recognized expert on soil analysis, pressed an X-ray fluorescent analyzer against various soil surfaces to get immediate readings. The spectrometer is able to quantify the presence of any element from magnesium to uranium.

The findings — as low as 51 parts per million and as high as 228 parts in an area close to a recently renovated house — showed a decisive improvement over the lead levels measured during a 2001 mapping study in the Marigny and Bywater neighborhoods. At that time, the lead level there could be as high as 1,700 parts per million .

“This is one of the most highly contaminated parts of the city,” Mielke said.

The 2001 map reflected more than 5,000 soil samples.

Earth Lab’s site has been covered by clean soil that is acceptable for urban gardening.

“We want to provide a healthy environment for the students to work in,” Alicia Neal, executive director of Groundwork New Orleans, said about high school students in the nonprofit’s Green Team program.

Mielke provided an overview of the origins of lead in the environment, its effects on health and methods to safely remediate homes, gardens, schools and worksites.

Between 1900 and 1985, lead was used heavily in paints and gasoline additives. Lead smelters in every state produced 12 million metric tons of ore, leaving a layer of lead dust in urban areas. A lead smelter in Algiers Point, for example, continues to affect the quality of West Bank soil.

Although lead was banned from gasoline in 1995, contaminated soils continue to be heavily concentrated around major highways and thoroughfares.

“During that time, we were all being poisoned by lead,” Mielke said.

Because children are predisposed to sucking their thumbs, their environments must be free of lead dust, Mielke said. Children younger than 3 are particularly vulnerable because they crawl and play on the ground around their homes.

The effects of lead exposure can include irreversible fetal brain damage, hearing problems, learning disabilities, violence, Alzheimer’s disease, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, diabetes and impaired bone synthesis.

“There are a lot of learning disabilities and people struggling to succeed in school,” said Robyn Munici, a Treme mother concerned about her toddler’s blood level.

“We are not protecting our children with the standards we have,” Mielke said. “To include a margin of safety, it should be 40 instead of 400 (parts per million).”

The Environmental Protection Agency sets a higher standard for lead safety inside the home, yet lead is constantly tracked inside houses.

Emphasis on eliminating lead inside the home has unfortunately encouraged homeowners to try to get rid of lead paint, when the best method is to paint over it, Mielke said. Modern paints can contain the lead, while dry sanding distributes it.

“Don’t even try to get rid of the lead in those old houses. Just seal it. Or go back to wallpaper, for that matter,” Mielke said.

There are two choices for growing food: move gardens outside the city, where lead levels are low, or move clean soil into the city, Mielke told the group.

Megan Bayha, who recently moved to New Orleans from Oregon, hopes to start an urban farm but wants to make sure the soil is free of lead. First, Mielke advised her, put down geotextile to create a barrier, then bring in a truckload of soil and make raised beds.

Mielke is working on a new lead map study, which he believes will show vast improvement in New Orleans. Hurricane Katrina brought in vast amounts of clean soil, and HUD replaced contaminated soil when housing projects were redeveloped.

“My dream is to change the map of the city of New Orleans,” he said.
Participants in a lead remediation workshop organized by Groundwork New Orleans got to observe soil analysis firsthand Sunday in the Earth Lab environmental classroom in a lot adjacent
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I-Team: Source of Lead Contamination Found Flying Under the Radar.

WDSU's I-Team recent spoke to Dr. Mielke concerning the lead-based health risks surrounding AVGAS, or aviation fuel.

See the video here:

#WDSU   #neworleans   #lead   #leadpoisoning   #leadpoisoningprevention   #health   #environment   #howardmielke   #tulaneuniversity   #AVGAS   #aviationfuel  
It’s a dangerous toxin for children that is essentially undetectable – lead. It was banned from paint in the 70s, from plumbing in the 80s to automobile fuel in the 90s. However, the one area where lead still flies high is aviation fuel -- specifically the fuel used in most small planes.
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A Facebook group that you all may be interested in:

#lead   #urbanlead   #leadpoisoning   #health   #environment  
This webpage is designed to be a forum for those interested in urban lead poisoning issues.
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New Orleanians have long had special relationships with local mockingbirds. Known for their expansive repertoires, members of the Northern mockingbird species emulate everything from other bird
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Tulane biologist, Dr. Renata Ribeiro, to study lead exposure in New Orleans' mockingbirds.  The investigators will use Dr. Mielke's lead maps to help with their research.

WWL TV story:

Times-Picayune article:

Press release on Tulane's website:

#NewOrleans #lead  #mockingbirds   #howardmielke   #leadpoisoning   #leadlab   #tulane   #renataribeiro  
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More than 1,300 birds are perched perilously on a global list of threatened species. Each one is sending us a message, and scientists are struggling to decipher them. EHN’s series, Winged Warnings, reveals the surprising new discoveries that are emerging about the global threats to birds. “Canary in the coalmine” isn’t just a proverb: Birds are showing us what ails their environment – and sometimes, what ails us.Their nesting, their parenting, their brains, their hormones – even their songs – have been changed by pollutants, climate change and other threats they encounter. Our team of reporters traveled to the islets of Iceland, the prairies of Canada, the shores of Lake Michigan and the backyards of Alaska, among other places, to bring these stories to life. Unfolding over the next six weeks, Winged Warnings is published in conjunction with National Geographic. – Marla Cone, Editor in Chief, Environmental Health News.
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Our friend +Tamara Rubin, producer of the documentary MisLEAD, is in the Huffington Post talking about lead poisoning in our schools.
A contractor cleans up lead paint at a contaminated building in Providence, R.I., in 2006. (AP Photo/Chitose Suzuki) Portland, Ore. — The worn, heart-shaped rug that greeted you upon entering Angela Molloy Murphy's preschool was a ref...
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Have them in circles
6 people
Marilyn Langfeld's profile photo
Ling Cheng's profile photo
Christopher Oliver's profile photo
Educating the public about the dangers of residual lead contamination in childrens' play areas
Research, education, urban environment mapping
  • Tulane University School of Medicine
    Professor, present
Map of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has livedMap of the places this user has lived
New Orleans, LA
Contact Information
Lead Lab - A not-for-profit organization started by Dr. Howard Mielke in the early 90s which is currently helping communities solve their lead contamination problems.
Howard Mielke is the creator of the Lead Lab project, a not for profit initiative dedicated to helping communities with lead contamination in children's play areas. He is currently a faculty member in Tulane School of Medicine's Pharmacology Department and part of the Environmental Signaling Laboratory research effort.
Bragging rights
In 1984, working with the Minnesota Lead Coalition and the Minnesota Legislature a petition was sent to the US Congress to ban the use of lead additives in gasoline. I testified at the Congressional hearings on June 22, 1984 and the result was a rapid phasedown in lead additives on January 1, 1986. The rapid phasedown resulted in a 90% reduction of children's lead exposure; the hearings advanced the phaseout of lead additives in fuels used for highway vehicles by about a decade. The positive results on children's exposure also triggered an international effort to remove lead additives from fuels.
  • Macalester College
    Biology, 1959 - 1963
    Minors in geography and chemistry
  • University of Michigan
    Biology and Geography, 1964 - 1972
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Other names
Lead Lab Inc., Lead Safe Play Areas