Lead may be essential in the production of household as well as commercial products, but lead also has one of the most terrible reputations among all harmful metals. When you do an internet search on them, lead is usually blamed for most serious metal-related illnesses.
Lead is present in the pipes where drinking water passes and corroding these lead pipes over time may cause the pipes to emit lead in the drinking water rendering it unsafe for consumption. However, we always do not notice when these lead pipes become harmful for our health because they barely can be seen. Aside from lead pipes, lead can also be potentially harmful for children because some low-grade toys and school supplies use lead that can be inhaled or ingested by small children. Due to these, there was a lot of product testing on toys to avoid possible effects of lead to children.
Lead is considered dangerous for human health because of the various effects that it causes such as:
• Cognitive and behavioral problems
Studies show that children exposed to lead may have poor cognitive abilities; thereby significantly affecting their school performance and leading to underachievement. Aside from this, it also causes behavioral impairments that make children exposed to be more hyperactive and inattentive. There may also be impulsive as well as antisocial behaviors.
Lead may not only cause short-term cognitive impairments, but psychosis as well. When lead is inhaled or ingested, it affects the normal functioning of the neurons leading to psychosis.
• Organ damage
When lead is present inside the body, it mimics the action and the pathway of calcium making it circulate to the organs such as the liver, brain and kidneys. Lead poisoning may possibly lead to kidney failure as a result of accumulation of lead in the nephrons as well as liver failure because of the affectation of the liver organ. Brain damage may possibly lead to life-threatening seizures as well as coma.
All these effects of lead are quite dangerous especially if a child is affected. Their small bodies make them more prone to lead toxicity; thereby increasing the risk for possible death.
Governments from all over the world has acknowledge how lead can be harmful making them pass bills and laws on the use of lead. Leaded paints as well as leaded gas were banned from the market and these steps lead to the reduction of the lead levels in the humans.
Lead is also considered very harmful because it enters the body through several routes, unlike other metals that can only employ a specific entry to the body. A person can be exposed to lead through the following:
• Occupational exposure
By far, the most serious lead poisoning happens in workers working on a lead-exposed workplace. Those who work in factories that manufacture radiation shields, fetal monitors, surgical equipment, ammunitions, plumbing, jet engines, circuit boards, and ceramics are at highest risk for lead exposure.
• Inhalation of lead paints
Homes that have lead paints may also put the people inside the house into serious lead exposure. The paint may emit lead gas most especially when they are peeled from the walls.
• Soil exposure
Places with nearby lead factories may also have lead-contaminated soil, which may put people in urban areas at risk for lead toxicity.
• Ingestion of contaminated water
Worn-out plumbing systems may also put people at risk for lead ingestion through their drinking water. In this line, it is essential for water companies to check and constantly renew their water plumbing.
Indeed, lead is very dangerous for the health because of the various health effects that it can give. Lead is almost present everywhere so children need to be protected from it because they are the ones who are seriously affected.