What You Should Know About Lead
Lead, the toxic metal known to be harmful to man, has been sneaking
into the bloodstreams of millions of Americans over many years. It seeps
insidiously into our water risking the lives of our unborn and our children,
often going unnoticed until it's too late. It enters our homes on the feet of
every occupant, picked up from the soil outside. It can cover the work clothes
of mechanics, plumbers, lead smelter workers, and other high risk occupations.
The same clothes that we wash along with our children's clothes, unknowingly
Lead is an invisible enemy, often in the form of simple dust that enters our
home. Dust that can be both inhaled or ingested especially by young children who
tend to put everything in their mouths.
In other words lead poisoning is still a very real threat present in our
environment, damaging the brains and nervous system of many of it's victims, the
majority of which are children.
Of great concern is our water supply. The EPA (Environmental Protection
Agency) estimates that about forty two million Americans use household water
that contains unsafe levels of lead. Precisely, levels in excess of 15 ppb
(parts per billion), which is the highest recommended safety level. However,
there is no truly safe level of lead, because it does not belong in the human
body, and it does not leave our bodies once it has entered. Instead, it is
stored just like calcium and other minerals in the bone matter where it
continues to build up over our lifetime.
It's no wonder that as many as one out of eleven children in the United
States have dangerously high levels of lead in their bloodstream according to
the EPA. Some other sources suggest this number is as great as one in eight
As hard as this is to believe, the facts are very real. Lead is decreasing
the I.Q.'s of many young victims, creating learning disabilities, such as speech
and behavior problems, not to mention hearing loss, muscular coordination
problems, and much more.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that regular lead screening
should be done on children up to age six, with the first test done between six
to twelve months of age. However, it has been my personal experience that
Pediatricians are not routinely checking for lead in children. Certainly none
have ever suggested it to me, and my children have seen a dozen different
Pediatrician's over the years.
It appears that few people really believe their families are at risk and feel
their homes are safe. The reality is however, that your home's water probably
does contain lead in some amount, and in fact, an estimated 10 million children
receive significantly high amounts of lead in their drinking water in our
country every day.
Following are some other common sources of lead.
- bone china
- painted surfaces
- brass faucets
- painted toys
- antique pewter
- foreign made crayons
- ammunition, pellets
- plastic mini-blinds
- stained glass
- storage batteries
- gasoline additives
- water pipe corrosion
- water pipe solder
Today experts regard soldering as the major
cause of lead contamination of household water in U.S. homes. New brass faucets
and fittings can also leach lead during corrosion, even though they claim to be
It's sad to note that the newer the home, the greater the risk of lead
contamination. Why? Because normally, as time passes, mineral deposits form a
coating on the inside of water pipes, (if the water is not corrosive.) This
coating insulates the water from the lead-containing solder present. But during
the first five years, before the coating forms, water is in direct contact with
the lead and carries it into your home.
Some recent studies suggest that food is our main source of adult human
exposure with as much as 60% of total ingested lead coming from the food we eat,
air inhalation accounting for 30%, and water for 10%.
Children, pregnant women, and calcium deficient individuals are in the
greatest risk group for lead toxicity. What's frightening to realize is that
dangerously high levels of lead do not necessarily present any symptoms in
children. So it's no surprise few Physicians or parents ever suspect lead
toxicity in their children.
It's also interesting to note that many of the symptoms of ADHD, (Attention
Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), mimic those of lead toxicity. I can't help but
wonder how many children diagnosed with this disease may actually be lead toxic
instead. Take a look at the symptoms that may or may not present themselves.
- poor appetite
- behavior and learning
- brain and nervous
- slowed growth
- earing and speech
- abdominal pain
- lack of muscular
- difficulty during
pregnancy, such as miscarriage, etc.
problems (men and women)
- high blood pressure
- digestive problems
- nerve disorders
- muscle and joint
- memory and