The fact that Lead is a danger has been know for some time, but, it is a good idea to be reminded once in awhile how dangerous it actually is. It is most hazardous to children.
When a child ingests or inhales lead it is absorbed into the blood, bone and organs. Over 1/3 of all lead ingested is deposited in the kidneys and liver where it replaces needed metals such as iron and zinc. It then interferes with the formation of enzymes and blood. Some of the lead, when ingested, gets deposited in the brain where is can cause neurological damage. Lead can also be deposited in the bone where it decreases bone density and may slowly leach into the blood.
Children are most affected because their brains are still growing and developing. The affects can be chronic or acute and lethal. The affects include:
*Lower IQ *Anemia *Tremors *Depression
*Decreased Brain Volume *Renal Disease *Hypertension
*Physiological Problems Including Difficulty Controlling Anger
*Decreased Hearing *Decreased Growth *Cardiovascular Problems
According to the CDC and Surgeon General, lead poisoning from deteriorating lead-based paint and remodeling houses is the greatest environmental threat to children.
Other common sources of lead poisoning are: chewing on keys and charms, cooking with ceramic potter containing lead, Mexican candy, Eating off of ceramic dishes containing lead, Toys with lead in the plastic or paint, lead in soil from leaded gasoline and lead brought home on clothes of adults from work.
In adults, the affects of lead poisoning are: Increased levels of birth problems, increased incidence of Dementia and Alzheimer's, Transference of lead to a fetus and Decreased ability to absorb vitamins D and Calcium.
Lead poisoning is a serious problem in St. Joseph County Indiana. 70% of the houses in St. Joseph County were built before 1978 when lead was still added to paint.
St. Joseph County has approximately 60 confirmed lead poisoned children each year. Since the testing rate is low, there is actually an estimated 250 to 500 kids poisoned each year. This does not include the many hundreds of children that test high but below the legal definition of lead poisoning. Those children have similar but somewhat less sever health effects.
***All information in this post was provided by the St. Joseph County Health Department