What kind of damage can cause the exposure to lead?
Lead poisoning is a serious and sometimes fatal condition. It occurs when lead builds up in the body. Lead is a highly toxic metal and a very strong poison. The poisoning can cause severe mental and physical impairment. Young children are most vulnerable to lead poisoning.
lead can lead to mental impairment. Signs of mental impairment may include:
- behavior problems
- low IQ
- poor grades at school
- problems with hearing
- learning difficulties(short and long term)
- growth delays
Before I get into specifics on neurotoxicity I want to quickly broaden the understanding on lead and the human body.
First, we are exposed daily to lead mainly via food and water. There are traces of lead found in all food sources.
Lead Distribution through the Body:
Exposure via ingestion isn't a straight path to the brain. Lead has to be absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract then sent to the liver, and if it the lead doesn't get excreted in bile it goes to the blood stream. Once lead gets into the blood stream highway there are several places it can exit at. Majority of blood lead will end up in the bones where it replaces calcium. Approximately 0.1% of blood lead may make it to the brain. Once there, neurotoxic affects will be dependent on the maturity of the brain.
Factors that Affect Gastrointestinal Absorption:
Absorption depends on:
- physiochemical properties of the ingested material:
- particle size,
- lead species,
- physiological factors:
- nutritional calcium and iron status,
It should be noted that absorption of ingested soluble lead compounds appear to be higher in children than in adults.
Absorption of water-soluble lead compounds can be decreased in the presence of food. A study using a tracer dose of lead-acetate reported that absorption when taken with a meal varied from 3 to 21%. When administered to fasting adults, absorption of lead-acetate in water was approximately 63%.
Factors that Affect Absorption in Children:
- Nutritional Iron:
- Lead absorption in children is affected by nutritional iron status. A low iron intake and deficient iron status was associated with increase blood lead levels.
- Dietary Calcium:
- An inverse relationship between dietary calcium intake and blood lead levels. This suggests that children who are calcium-deficient may absorb more lead than calcium-loaded children.
Health Risks: Neurotoxicity and Neurodevelopmental Effects:
- The nervous system is the main target organ for lead toxicity. A study on lead-exposed workers showed strong associations in central information processing, especially for visuospatial organization and short-term verbal memory. Another study on aging males showed a decline in cognitive functions associated with increasing blood lead concentrations
- Neurodevelopmental effects:
- The developing brain is more vulnerable to lead exposure than the mature brain. Encephalopathy with seizures may occur in children at blood lead concentrations much lower than those that will induce similar effects in adults.
Information summarized was sourced from:
- EFSA Journal 2010;8(4):1570,
- EFSA Journal 2012;10(7):2831,
Years ago I re-plumbed my house to get rid of the old pipes, all the way to the tap. Wasn't that bad, used PVC and the benefits were awesome. Great water pressure and cleaner water I think this is a step that needs to be undertaken to get rid of older questionable plumbing. I found lead drain pipes in mine. Never know what you'll find.
As far as lead is concerened, I'm going out on a limb, but Fluoride will leach lead out of pipes, giving you a double whammy. Why we are still feeding this poison I don't know. But new studies show Fluoride is responsible for a lot of Lead contamination. It is highly reactive, corrosive, and does nothing to treat the water or make it safer. I dare anyone to show how wonderful their fluoride feed room is. It has eaten through concrete and ductile iron at my plant. Don't tell me this stuff is safe.
Sorry for co-opting the thread, but Fluoride is a real part of the lead problem.