Lead is a heavy metal that is found in small concentration in the earth’s crust. When first mined, lead is a metallic bluish-white color, but becomes a dull grey when exposed to air. Lead is used for many things such as lead-acid batteries, weights, bullets, as part of certain metal alloys and in radiation shields. It is also used in building construction. Lead was formally used in paint, lead pencils, in cosmetics, plumbing, leaded fuels and pesticides, all which has been prohibited in many countries due to the serious health risks of lead poisoning.
The affects of lead on the body
Lead is a heavy metal and because of this prolonged exposure to lead causes the buildup of lead in bone and bodily tissue. Lead poisoning has been documented as far back as ancient civilizations such as Rome, China and Egypt. Lead damages the nervous system and can cause brain disorders. It can also cause blood disorders if lead concentrations are high enough. Lead is especially dangerous to young children. Lead poisoning causes weakness in fingers, wrists and ankles due to its adverse effects on the nervous system. High levels of lead exposure damages the kidney and brain functions, which will eventually cause death. In pregnant women high levels of lead can cause miscarriage. Lead also reduces fertility in males. In children lead exposure cause learning difficulties and delays in puberty in girls.
Common affects that lead has on children in low levels
- Nervous system and kidney damage.
- Learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder, and decreased intelligence.
- Speech, language, and behavior problems.
- Poor muscle coordination.
- Decreased muscle and bone growth.
- Hearing damage.
- Seizures, unconsciousness, and death.
Affects that lead has on adult in low levels
- Increased chance of illness during pregnancy.
- Harm to a fetus, including brain damage or death.
- Fertility problems (in men and women).
- High blood pressure.
- Digestive problems.
- Nerve disorders.
- Memory and concentration problems.
- Muscle and joint pain.