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February Tuesday

Toxic City: Lead Poisoning and Its Silent Attack on the Vulnerable


Tackle the topic of lead toxicity in this conversation.

Hidden in decaying walls and aging infrastructure, lead is an insidious threat to the health of Brooklynites and citizens throughout New York City, especially children and communities that have been historically marginalized by structural inequalities. Dr. David Rosner, Co-Director of Columbia’s Center for the History & Ethics of Public Health, shares this tainted history and joins a conversation with staff lawyer at North Manhattan Improvement Corporation Matthew Chachère, activist in the fight against lead poisoning Cordell Cleare, and Director of Lead Poisoning Prevention and Treatment at Montefiore Children’s Hospital Dr. Morri Markowitz about the efforts being made to treat illnesses caused by lead, to hold industrial interests accountable, and to secure the future of healthy communities in our city. Moderated by Christopher Werth, senior editor at WNYC whose reporting on lead poisoning has spurred citywide inspections of classrooms and other facilities.

Presented in connection with the exhibition Taking Care of Brooklyn: Stories of Sickness and Health


Tuesday, February 11, 2020

6:30 pm


  • General Admission $10
  • Member Admission $5
reserve tickets

Missed this program? Listen here!


  • chachere head shot

    Matthew Chachère

    Matthew J. Chachère, is a staff attorney with Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation Legal Services (“NMIC”) in the Washington Heights neighborhood in New York City. At NMIC (and previously at Bronx Legal Services) he has been counsel in several state and federal class actions seeking to compel the abatement of lead paint hazards in children’s homes, in day care centers, and in kindergartens.

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    Cordell Cleare

    Cordell Cleare is a Harlem lead poisoning activist whose fight began when her son fell victim to lead poisoning. Over the years, Cleare has taken the lead poison fight to two city administrations. Additionally, Cleare is the former head of staff to City Council member Bill Perkins. Currently, she is running for a seat on City Council in 2021.

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    Dr. Morri Markowitz

    Dr. Morri Markowitz received his M.D. degree from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University in 1974. Since the end of his training, he has been an attending at the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore where he sees patients with calcium or phosphate disorders and those with lead or mercury poisoning. He has also been an active research investigator focused on discovering improved methods to diagnosis and treat children with these problems. He teaches medical students, residents, and specialists about his field and holds the title of Professor of Pediatrics at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine. He is recognized internationally for his expertise in these areas.

  • DSC_5824_preview- D. Rosner

    David Rosner

    David Rosner is Lauterstein Professor of Sociomedical Sciences and History at Columbia University and Co-Director of the Center for the History of Public Health. An elected member of the National Academy and Guggenheim Fellow his 11 books include Lead Wars: The Politics of Science and the Fate of America’s Children.

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    Christopher Werth

    Christopher Werth is a senior editor at WNYC. His investigative reporting on lead-paint hazards in New York City schools prompted the Department of Education to conduct citywide inspections that found over 1,800 classrooms with deteriorated lead paint requiring immediate remediation. It also led to an overhaul of the department’s inspection protocols and revision of the city’s health code. He previously worked with the podcasts The Daily at The New York Times and Freakonomics Radio. He spent eight years as a correspondent in London, reporting for NPR, MarketplaceNewsweekThe Los Angeles Times and the BBC World Service.