New York City Risk Assessment Unit, Bureau of Environmental Disease Prevention

Risk Assessment Unit

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  • Mukarram Razvi, Paromita Hore, Munerah Ahmed

The Risk Assessment Unit (RAU), which is part of the Bureau of Environmental Disease Prevention, works closely with the bureau's Lead Poisoning Prevention Program and Environmental and Occupational Disease Epidemiology Program to identify and target consumer products contaminated with lead, mercury, arsenic and other dangerous chemicals, and remove them from public sale. Examples of identified products include spices, foods, cosmetics, jewelry, toys, pottery/ceramics and herbal medicine products.

"Non paint" sources have been identified during case investigations in 25% of lead poisoned children and 82% of lead poisoned women.

RAU's work has led to the removal of thousands of contaminated products, and to the development of the "Community Investigation and Intervention Model." The model consists of identifying non-paint lead sources and using enforcement and education strategies to proactively reduce access to or the availability of these sources and inform the public to their dangers.

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