Lesson Plan

Understanding the Dangers of Lead


The federal government banned lead from gasoline and household products years ago, but a toxic mess remains. About half a million children – disproportionately children of color – have dangerously high lead levels in their blood, mostly from exposure to peeling paint and contaminated dust. The fight over who should clean it up has lasted for decades. This 14-minute video examines the effectiveness of laws mandating the removal of lead and addresses the ongoing issue of lead poisoning. It also explores the legal repercussions and outcomes of lawsuits aimed at determining liability for the removal of lead-based paint that remains in homes across the nation.


Students will:

  • Identify sources of lead exposure
  • Examine the effects of lead exposure on children and determine how different levels of government have attempted to address the problems associated with this toxin.
  • Review evidence to determine what claim can be made about lead-based paint.
  • Social Studies
  • English Language Arts
  • Environment
  • Health
  • The Modern Era (1980-Present)
For Teachers

Essential Questions

  • What are some effects of lead-based house paint on the development of children?
  • What are sources of lead exposure?
  • Why did states file lawsuits against paint companies?

Additional Resources

Transcript for "Lingering Peril From Lead Paint"Retro Report 
Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention InfographicsCenters for Disease Control and Prevention 
States With the Most Lead Drinking Water PipesU.S. News and World Report 
Water crisis increased Flint children’s lead exposureCornell Chronicle 
Revealed: A third of world’s children poisoned by lead, UNICEF analysis findsUnited Nations 
More Childhood Lead Poisoning Is a Side Effect of Covid LockdownsThe New York Times 

Explain how economic decisions affect the well-being of individuals, businesses, and society.

Evaluate how human settlement activities affect the physical and environmental characteristics of places and regions.

Assess specific rules and laws (both actual and proposed) as means of addressing public problems.

Explain how and why perspectives of people have changed over time.

Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem

Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.

Introduce claim(s) and organize the reasons and evidence clearly.

Support claim(s) with logical reasoning and relevant evidence, using accurate, credible sources and demonstrating an understanding of the topic or text.

Use words, phrases, and clauses to clarify the relationships among claim(s) and reasons.

Questions? Tips? Concerns? Reach out to our Director of Education, David Olson: dolson@retroreport.com