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The University of Mississippi Lead in Drinking Water Project
Proceedings of the 2022 Mississippi Water Resources Conference

Year: 2022 Authors: Otts S., Green J.J., Surbeck C., Willett K.L.

Childhood lead poisoning is a challenging social issue that requires the coordination of health, housing, and environmental law and policy. Little is known about the contribution of lead pipes and water treatment to lead poisoning in Mississippi. The University of Mississippi Lead in Drinking Water Project (UM Lead Project) launched in 2017 and is headed by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from the University of Mississippi (Stephanie Otts, J.D.; Dr. Cristiane Surbeck; and Dr. Kristie Willett) and the Southern Rural Development Center (Dr. John Green). The team takes a community-engaged, research-based approach to address lead in water-related health gaps in the state. To date, the Team has organized almost twenty lead education and sampling events, tested drinking water for more than 300 families, presented annually at the Mississippi Water Resources Conference, taught an Honors College Experiential Course, established a referral program with the Mississippi State Department of Health (MSDH), partnered with Mississippi State Extension's SipSafe program to sample water at childcare facilities for lead, and published two academic journal articles. Our research has revealed that lead in drinking water is an issue of statewide concern, especially for Mississippians who obtain their drinking water from private wells. In 2021, the UM Lead Project received funding from the University of Mississippi to organize and host a statewide lead forum in October 2022. This presentation will provide an overview of the UM Lead Project's work and research findings, as well as provide an opportunity for conference participants to provide input into the planning of the Lead Forum.

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