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LEAD IN THE AMERICAS: A call for action PREAMBLE We are often reminded of the interconnectedness of human endeavors and that, as a result of modern telecommunications, transportation, and our increasing economic interdependence, the world is truly becoming a “global village.” Our concerns with regard to health and the environment are, in fact, global concerns. For those of us involved in the symposium and workshops summarized in Lead in the Americas: A Call for Action, it is also clear that we live in the same neighborhood of this global village and share the same concerns about what our neighborhood of the Americas looks like, its economic well-being, its future improvement, how our actions affect our neighbors, and the extent to which we help each other. This conference presented an important opportunity to talk about the problem of lead poisoning in our shared environment and to identify common strategies to prevent this disease in our children, and workers and their families. The conference was unusual in two aspects: first, its participants represented a broad cross-section of people who have an active interest in lead exposure reduction, and second, its goals were pragmatic and tangible—to identify a set of specific actions that could be implemented immediately to reduce lead exposures in our hemisphere. The Institute of Medicine of the United States and the National Institute of Public Health of Mexico are pleased to have undertaken this important collaborative activity. We hope that this effort will mark the beginning of a long and productive interaction that, with the help of our neighbors, will improve the health, environment, and quality of life of all residents in the Americas. Kenneth I. Shine, M.D. President Institute of Medicine, USA Jaime Sepúlveda, M.D., Dr.Sc. Director-General National Institute of Public Health, Mexico
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