The Effects Of Lead Poison On Children

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The Effects Of Lead Poison On Children

The Effects of Lead Poison on Children

Throughout the world today one out of every six children under the age
of six are suffering from health disorders due to a poisonous metal known as
lead(Kiwanis, 1996). Lead is a natural occurring bluish-grey metal found in the
earth's crust. It has no taste or smell. Lead can easily be found in all parts
of our environment today. Most of it comes from mining, manufacturing, and last
but not least the burning of fossil fuels(Xintaras, 1993). In the United States
lead poison has increased because of the lack of knowledge in our society.
(Background information on the effect's lead poison has on children)
Lead is released into the environment by industries, the burning of
fossil fuels or wastes. When lead enters the environment, it starts to become a
problem. After a period of about ten days, depending on the weather, it falls
to the surface. Here lead builds up in the soil particles. Where it may make
its way into underground water or drinking water due to the fact the grounds
acidic or if it's soft enough. Either way it stays a long time on the soil or
in water. Months or years down the road after the lead has built up it starts
to become a problem for children that play outside of their homes (Xintaras,
1993). These lead containing soil particles get on the child's hands or
clothing and end up in the child's mouth. After the build up of so much lead it
leads to a problem commonly known as lead poison. Lead poisoning has been an
issue since the early 1900s, when the use of lead started being banned from the
manufacturing of paint in foreign countries such as Australia(Monheit, 1996).
Unfortunately the United States did not start banding it until 1978, when it
finally became illegal in our nation. Today 90% of the lead in the atmosphere
comes from the burning of gasoline. This problem has been a large issue since
the 1920s, when the EPA(Environmental Protection Agency) started making laws on
the amount of lead allowed in gasoline.
There are many other ways that a child especially under the age of six
can be diagnosed to lead poison besides air pollution. One of the most common
ways of our past is when a child eats or chews on an object that has lead based
paint chips in or on its surface. Parents can easily prevent this from
happening by reading labels or buying objects which are not painted. Another
way in a child can be affected is by drinking water that comes from lead pipes.
Houses built prior to 1978 have been found very unsafe due to the older
pipes(Verstraaten, 1997). These pipes can be easily replaced in most situations.
This process may be expensive but it pays off dearly when it comes to your
family, and never let your child drink from a water fountain or a water hose
that you are not sure is safe(Reducing Lead Hazards When Remodeling Your Home,
1994). The build up of lead in the soils another problem. Bare soil can easily
contain lead from car exhaust, paint peeling, and near by industries pollution.
The easiest way to prevent this is by not letting you child play on bare soil or
cover the soil before letting the child play in the area(Handout IIa: Activities
to Reduce Environmental Exposure, 1997). Breathing workplace air has been a
problem in past also. When parents are not aware of the near by power plants or
industries, which could be letting off lead into the air. It can lead to
problems. So its always best that you know the area really well that you child
is playing in. Another incident that occurred here recently in North Carolina
was a young child was discovered having lead poison after eating some pool-cue
chalk. Researchers here found the cue chalk could actually be a source of
environmental lead(Modica 1996). There
are many effects or symptom that lead poison can have on a child if diagnosed at
an early age. These injuries our so severe because the body and the brain are
not fully developed, which can leave children with subtle but irreversible
injuries that does not appear until many years after the exposure of
lead(Monheit, 1). In young children, lead retards the development of the
central nervous system and brain. Lower levels of lead can reduce their IQ,
reading and learning disabilities, attention deficit disorder and behavior
problems. When these are added up it causes the student to become a dropout
from school and a negative contribution to our communities(Monheit, 1996).
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta
(CDC) have found that these injuries occur when blood levels rise to a mere 10
Micrograms per deciliter of whole blood. Lead poisoning is treatable in the
early stages due to the great amount of investigation that the medical and
environmental fields have put forth, but the damage that the lead does in a
child's body is not treatable, so once the lead has been damaged, its permanent
(Monheit, 1996). The CDC also asks parents to make sure that their child
receives a blood-lead test at each pediatric checkup at least until the age of
seven. If any of the following symptoms, are obtained by any child consult to
immediate emergency care:
sluggish behavior, apathy
staring periods, tremors, seizures, loss of consciousness
abdomen cramps, loss of appetite, constipation

hyperactive behavior All of the following symptoms are early stages of
lead poisoning and if not treated when possible the symptoms of this poisoning
may lead to a child being put into a coma or even death. (Ways that people
can stay informed on lead poison)
Information on lead poison today is so easy to get access of. One of the
easiest sources of information can be found on the Internet. Many people still
do not yet realize how much information it releases. I found that this subject
had thousands of documents over the Internet that could be easily reached by the
touch of a few keys. Examples of this is: Preventing lead poisoning by the
Kiwanis International, Lead Paint Poisoning of Children by the Law Offices of
Herbert Monheit, and Lead by ToxFAQs. Besides the Internet they're other tools
that can easily be obtained such as Ebsco Host. This is a program in which one
can find information in periodacles over a computer. It saves a lot of time
because one doesn't have to go to a library and look through periodicals that
can take hours. Being this was my first time exploring this program I found
many valuable keys of information in it such as: Preventing Childhood Poisoning,
the FDA Consumer, which explains the steps that the FDA are taking in order to
stay informed on lead and lead poisoning. Lead in Homes Subject to Additional
Disclosure by Business Journal of Charlotte magazine. This magazine tells about
the new federal regulations on lead-based paint in 1996. If one doesn't have
access of either of these programs most libraries have many books and
periodicals that cover this subject.

Other programs that stay informed on this issue can be found governmental
agencies such as the Alliance to End Childhood Lead Poisoning, located in
Washington D.C.. This Alliance staff offers technical assistance and will help
clubs find local contacts who can offer expert advice for local preventing
program. Materials and requests are also found through the Alliance. Examples
of this is: Guide to State Lead Screening Laws, Resource Guide for Financing,
Lead-Based Paint Cleanup, and copies of fact-filled articles from news papers,
magazines, and other organizations. Another governmental agency which seems to
be on top of this subject is The Environmental Protection Agency. They make
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