Lead is one of the oldest human discoveries. It has been in use by humans since 3000 B.C. But, it is a highly toxic element. The toxicity of lead can have two effects. It can either be a short-term effect from brief exposure to high concentrations of lead, or it can be a long-term effect from prolonged exposure to a low level of lead.
The maximum level of lead allowed to be present in drinking water has been set to zero by the Environmental Protection Agency, as lead is toxic to humans even at a very low level. The Environmental Protection Agency has strictly stated that any amount of lead can be harmful to children. Thus, there are many other chronic effects of lead that you need to be aware of before it’s too late.
1. Diminished IQ
The World Health Organization has strongly pointed that lead, even in minute amount, is harmful for children, as it can cause a variety of health problems. Lead can particularly affect the brain of a growing child. It can cause diminished IQ in growing children. Apart from that, the exposure can also affect the attention span of a child. Children exposed to lead might find it harder to complete grades when compared to normal healthy children.
According to the World Health Organization, even small amount of lead, as little as 5 micrograms per deciliter is also harmful. Amazingly, this amount was earlier regarded as safe, but researchers have discovered otherwise.
2. The Curious Case Of Pica
Pica is an unusual medical condition. This condition compels people to ingest inedible objects like paint chips. Lead poisoning can give rise to this condition. The Mayo Clinic has suggested that one of the symptoms of lead poisoning in kids is their affinity towards eating paint chips. People with lead poisoning feel compelled to eat other inedible objects like dirt etc.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, water might not be the only source behind lead poisoning. Houses built before the year 1978 were painted with lead-based paints in the U.S. This caused an increased exposure to aerosol lead and furthered the cause of lead poisoning among people. In the year 1978, lead based paints were banned all across America to safeguard people from the monstrosity of lead.
3. Prenatal Threats
Lead can be incredibly harmful to pregnant women and their unborn babies. According to the American College Of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), lead can breach the placental barrier through passive diffusion and affect the fetal brain. ACOG further claims that scans have detected the presence of lead in the fetal brain in its first trimester.
Miscarriages, gestational hypertension, premature birth are some of the sorry affects of lead exposure during pregnancy. Pregnant women are advised against drinking water from lead pipes and plastic bottles containing BPA.
4. Mood-Related Disorders
Lead can mentally affect both kids as well as adults. Children tend to become more irritable and end up having more tantrum issues than their healthy counterparts. Adults can suffer from more pronounced side effects like anxiety and depression.
5. Autoimmune Disorder
According to a leading health website, studies have shown that lead can trigger various autoimmune disorders like rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, lupus, fibromyalgia and type 1 diabetes. Basically, lead can make the immune system hostile towards the healthy and normal cells.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has rightly pointed out that people who get exposed to lead due to their occupations are more prone to cold and influenza. It is because lead can suppress immunoglobulin A, which is an antibody required for the protection of our pulmonary systems.
6. Lack Of Healthy Appetite
Loss of appetite is another prominent symptom of lead poisoning. Apart from that, weight loss, vomiting, fatigue and abdominal pain are few other symptoms associated with lead poisoning.
So, beware of lead poisoning as it can wreak havoc both on your mental as well as physical health. Awareness and systematic change can turn our health around.