The American Lead Map Collaboratory

NYC Lead-Related Housing Violations in 2018, Source: NYC HPD

San Francisco Lead-Related Housing Violations between 1996 and 2019, Source: City and County of San Francisco

Philadelphia Schools with Flaking Lead Paint in Classrooms and Hallways, Source: 2018 Reporting by Philadelphia Inquirer


The American Lead Map is a collaborative community-based research initiative to create the nations’ first crowd-sourced open online map identifying toxic lead hazards in American cities, integrating data from cities in all 50 states and Puerto Rico. This research is important, as leading public health experts estimate that currently over 500,000 children below the age of six are injured each year through their exposure to lead dust found in the home and in the landscape, with permanent cognitive deficits. Experts calculate that over 9 million US children have lead blood levels which may cause sub-clinical signs and permanent adverse health, cognitive, and behavior outcomes.


To enable the public sharing and use of both expert and locally sourced data on intra-urban concentrations of lead hazards – an unevenly shared risk within cities – we will collaborate with community groups, municipal agencies, and lead hazard scholars to co-create an online map that identifies available data on lead in urban soils, lead paint hazards within buildings, and lead hazards in post-industrial sites. The research will initially focus on the online mapping of currently available lead hazards from American cities, expanding to other intra-urban locales and seeking to create a model replicable to any interested jurisdiction or community organization. The project will initially assess existing lead hazard reporting practices that vary by municipality and collect relevant datasets made public by local governments, in addition to other spatial lead data collected by academic, nonprofit, and journalistic entities. We are actively seeking co-investigators for the lead map project. We also plan to develop an application for mobile access to environmental data to explore the potential for integrating citizen-sourced data.


For further information on the Lead Map Collaboratory:


Joyce Klein-Rosenthal, PhD, MPH
Associate Adj. Research Scholar


Nathan Albert
Graduate Research Assistant



Further Reading