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Improving Health, Intelligence and Economic Growth by Reducing Lead Exposure

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Exposure to lead has adverse health and social implications. With a focus on Bangladesh, the initiative identifies various stakeholders in the acid battery recycling and turmeric wholesale industries—two key sources of exposure—and aims to produce a set of long-term, viable solutions to ultimately remove lead from the value chain or find ways to ensure it does not contaminate the environment. To achieve this, the initiative engages students and faculty from various departments at Stanford, including the School of Medicine, School of Earth, Energy & Environmental Sciences, Graduate School of Business,, and the International Policy Studies Program.

Core faculty members

For more information, please contact Jenna Forsyth, staff scientist, at

men excavating a hole with recycled batteries
Initiative story

Stanford researchers and others reveal pervasive health threats of unregulated battery recycling

A remediation and public education effort, supported by the King Center, at an abandoned battery recycling facility in Bangladesh eliminated most lead soil contamination.

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spices displayed in a spice market
Initiative story

Stanford researcher finds lead in South Asian turmeric and jumpstarts a bigger movement

Jenna Forsyth and her initiative collaborators showed that turmeric is a key contributor to heightened lead levels in the blood of rural Bangladeshis and that the problem arises when some processors, unaware of the health risks, add a color-enhancing industrial pigment to make their product more attractive to buyers. 

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