Lead in drinking water and birth outcomes: A tale of two water treatment plants.

Citation metadata

Authors: Dhaval M. Dave and Muzhe Yang
Date: July 2022
Publisher: Elsevier B.V.
Document Type: Report; Brief article
Length: 278 words

Document controls

Main content

Abstract :

Keywords Birth outcomes; Lead; Water pollution; Water treatment Abstract The recent lead-in-water crisis in Newark has renewed concerns about the crisis being a widespread problem in the nation. Using data on the exact home addresses of pregnant women residing in the city combined with information on the spatial boundary separating areas within the city serviced by two water treatment plants, we exploit an exogenous change in water chemistry that resulted in lead leaching into the tap water of one plant's service area, but not the other's, to identify a causal effect of prenatal lead exposure on fetal health. We find robust evidence of adverse health impacts, which has important policy implications in light of the substantial number of lead water pipes that remain in use as part of our aging infrastructure and the cost-benefit calculus of lead abatement interventions. Author Affiliation: (a) Department of Economics, Bentley University, National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER), and Institute of Labor Economics (IZA), USA (b) Department of Economics, Lehigh University, 621 Taylor Street, Bethlehem, PA 18015, USA * Corresponding author. Article History: Received 24 May 2021; Revised 20 May 2022; Accepted 25 May 2022 (footnote)[white star] We are thankful to two anonymous reviewers and the editor. We thank Shooshan Danagoulian, Shawn McElmurry, Krista Ruffini, Viviane Sanfelice; seminar participants at Wayne State University, St. Lawrence University, University at Albany--SUNY, Indiana University, University of Montreal, Boston University, and Yale University; and participants at the 2020 Annual Conference of the Southern Economic Association, and at the 2020 Annual Conference of the Eastern Economic Association for their helpful comments and suggestions. All errors are our own. Byline: Dhaval M. Dave [ddave@bentley.edu] (a), Muzhe Yang [muzheyang@lehigh.edu] (b,*)

Source Citation

Source Citation   

Gale Document Number: GALE|A709525736