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New Solut. 2010;20(3):317-36. doi: 10.2190/NS.20.3.f.

Boundary networks and Rochester's "smart" lead law: the use of multidisciplinary information in a collaborative policy process.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Medicine, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY, USA.


The Rochester, New York, Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning formed in 2001 with the goal of eliminating childhood lead poisoning by 2010. The Coalition recruited diverse community stakeholders into a collaborative process committed to using the best available science. The Coalition successfully infused the debate about a new lead poisoning law with local data, national analyses, and the latest medical research. We argue that this was facilitated by a boundary network of individuals who provided technical input throughout the process. As a result of the Coalition's advocacy, in 2005 the Rochester City Council unanimously passed an ordinance that has been hailed as one of the nation's "smartest" lead laws. Many communities are looking to Rochester's new lead ordinance as a model. Both the process and outcome of this case provide valuable lessons for collaborative efforts to promote scientifically sound local environmental health policy.

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