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Infrastructure Upgrades and Lead Exposure: Do Cities Face Trade-Offs When Replacing Water Mains?

Ludovica Gazze and Jennifer Heissel
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Ludovica Gazze: University of Warwick

The Warwick Economics Research Paper Series (TWERPS) from University of Warwick, Department of Economics

Abstract: Concerns about drinking water contamination through lead service lines, which connect street water mains to homes in many cities in the United States, might hinder resource-constrained municipalities from performing important infrastructure upgrades. Construction on water mains might disturb the service lines and increase lead levels in drinking water. We estimate the effects of water main maintenance on drinking water and children's blood levels by exploiting unique geocoded data and over 2,200 water main replacements in Chicago, a city with almost 400,000 known lead service lines. By comparing water and blood samples in homes at different distances from replaced mains before and after replacement, we find no evidence that water main replacement affects water or children's lead levels.

Keywords: Lead; Children; Health; Infrastructure JEL Classification: I100; H41; H72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-hea, nep-tre and nep-ure
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Journal Article: Infrastructure upgrades and lead exposure: Do cities face trade-offs when replacing water mains? (2021) Downloads
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