Christian is the co-investigator of the firearm exposure research team at the Harvard Injury Control Research Center, where he conducts research on gun use, environmental toxicant exposures, mental illness, and violent injury. His work has been featured in the Boston Globe, the Herald, the Incidental Economist, WBUR and National Public Radio. Christian is also a part-time Health Policy MPH student.
Recent research indicates that lead-based ammunition for firearms is a major source of pediatric lead exposure. Christian’s project focuses on engaging with Massachusetts gun owners on policy alternatives to addressing lead exposure from firearms, with a focus on community-directed solutions.
Christian Hoover is the recipient of the 2023 James H. Ware Award for Public Health Practice.
Detailed project description: In Massachusetts communities with the highest percentage of gun owners, children are twice as likely to have elevated blood lead levels than peers in lower-licensed communities. Taken with other evidence, this indicates that lead from guns is a transmissible exposure capable of tracking from owners into communities via shot dust (i.e., lead dust created when ammunition with lead-based primer is fired from a firearm). I used a CBPR approach to address the risks of communal exposure to firearm-related lead with a strengths-based framework. Gun owners in MA are a diverse group with many reasons for ownership. They are well informed and safety oriented. Using an iterative process and with the help of the Peregrine Fund, I conducted 90-minute interviews with local and national gun owners and advocacy groups. We determined the extent of communal knowledge on gun-related exposures, behaviors associated with lead ammunition and tracking, and barriers to safer handling. This included identifying solutions and co-developing health communications. Through this work, individual gun owners have directed the process by which their communities can become aware of the risks from firearm-related pediatric lead exposure.