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August 24, 1979

Progress With Pollution

JAMA. 1979;242(8):753-754. doi:10.1001/jama.1979.03300080051029

Like a beacon guiding through the hazards of the nation's industrial development, the article by Morse et al elsewhere in this issue (p 739) indicates the benefits that can accrue when groups from government and industry use scientific methods to work on an environmental problem. It is indeed reassuring to know that not only can such cooperative efforts identify and quantitate a specific health problem, but that they may also lead to effective action diminishing the problem.

Tons of lead, zinc, and cadmium discharged into the air from a smeltery near El Paso, Tex, and Juarez, Mexico, constituted the problem identified by El Paso health officials in December 1971.1 In a major public health effort, workers from El Paso and from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) interviewed people in randomly selected households near the smeltery, took blood samples from their children, and obtained specimens of air, dust, and