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Lead Poisioning

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Submitted By wendychris
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Lead poisoning results from the accumulation of lead in the blood and body tissues of those individuals that are frequently exposed to lead. Lead is a heavy metal which is naturally occurring in the soil. It is recognized on the periodic table by its chemical symbol [82Pb].
Lead poisoning is most common in children between the ages of 1 -2 years. Its adverse effects are also most devastating among this age group.
Lead is mined and extracted for many industrial and domestic uses. Hence the ease of indoor and outdoor exposure. Chronic exposure to Lead could result in severe morbidity and mortality in affected individuals. Adverse effects of Lead poisoning range from seizures to mental retardation and even death in children. Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the United States. A more disturbing fact is that even children who appear healthy can sometimes have dangerous levels of lead in their bodies. [8]

Short History of lead poisoning:

Lead was first mined in Asia Minor (today Turkey) about 6500 BC. A 6000- to 8000-year-old lead necklace was found in the ancient city site of Anatolia. Lead's easy workability, low melting point and corrosion resistance were among its attractions.
Lead toxicity was first recognized as early as 2000 BC. Nicander of Colophon wrote of lead-induced anemia and colic in 250 BC. Gout, prevalent in affluent Rome, is thought to be the result of lead, or leaded eating and drinking vessels. Lead was used in makeup. Lead sugar (lead acetate) was used to sweeten wine, and the gout that resulted from this was known as saturnine gout. [1]
Aulus Cornelius Celsus, writing ca. 30 AD, listed white lead among poisons with antidotes (beside cantharides, hemlock, hyoscyamus, poisoned mushrooms, and a swallowed leech), and claimed it could be remedied by mallow or walnut juice rubbed up in wine - [2] an interesting idea. [3, 4] Despite his awareness of lead's toxicity, citing many contemporary authorities, Celsus recommended its use in a wide range of ointments applied to wounds to stop bleeding and reduce infection or inflammation.[5]
Julius Caesar's engineer, Vitruvius, who also served his successor Caesar Augustus, reported, "Water is much more wholesome from earthenware pipes than from lead pipes. For it seems to be made injurious by lead, because white lead paint is produced from it; and this is said to be harmful to the human body."[6]
In 17th-century Germany, an Ulm physician noticed that monks who did not drink wine were healthy, while wine drinkers developed colic. The culprit was a white oxide of lead, litharge, added to sweeten the wine. [6]
Chinese alchemists found that lead could be rendered harmless by soaking it in blood and firing it, when this process was repeated several times it provided a protective coat that lead could not pass. The only notable use of this measure was by martial artists so they could use the heavy metal as weights for training.
Today, most exposure in developed countries is the result of occupational hazards, leaded paint, and leaded gasoline (which continues to be phased out in most countries).
The term "lead poisoning" is sometimes used as a dysphemism for gunshot wounds, as almost all bullets are mainly composed of lead.[6]

Sources of Lead Contamination:

The primary source of lead poison is lead based paints. The addition of lead in paint dates back to the late 19th century (Gomboult, 1873). Its poisonous effects were notices as early as the 1920’s, however it was not until 1977 that the federal government banned the use of lead in paint products and then in 1996, created very strenuous disclosure requirements for almost all residential real estate transactions, including the leasing and selling of homes. Sellers, landlords and real estate brokers are required to disclose the known existence of lead based paint, and also to provide tenants and buyers with a pamphlet detailing the risks associated with lead based paint.
• Lead Pipes for Drinking Water
• Pinewood Derby Cars for Cub Scouts?
• Making fishing weights or sinkers, or toy soldiers
• Using lead solder (e.g., for electronics)
• Using lead-containing artists' paints or ceramic glazes
• Burning lead-painted wood
• Car or boat repair
• Industries;
• Work sites and occupations that work with lead;
• Secondary smelting and refining of nonferrous metals
• Brass/copper foundries
• Firing ranges
• Automotive repair shops
• Bridge, tunnel, and elevated highway construction
• Motor vehicle parts and accessories
• Storage batteries (lead batteries)
• Valve and pipe fittings
• Plumbing fixture fittings and trim
• Pottery
• Chemical and chemical preparations
• Industrial machinery and equipment
• Inorganic pigments
• Primary batteries, dry and wet
• Hobbies and home activities
• Recreational use of firing ranges
• Home repairs, repainting, or remodeling
• Furniture refinishing
• Stained glass making
• Casting ammunition
• Contaminated soil near lead refineries and waste sites.
• Releases to air from petrol stations dispensing leaded fuel.
• Releases to land and water from use of lead-containing rodenticides and insecticides.
• Release to water and land from lead pellets from spent ammunition.

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