Lead Poisoning


Environmental health and toxicology deals with the issues of toxic hazardously disposed in the environment that present health challenges. Lead is of the most toxic materials; it is of paramount concern to toxicologists since its exposure causes a wide range of effects on human and animal health. Exposure to lead affects adults, children, and the aged health in various ways. However, the most frequent cases are the cases where the majority of the affected are children (Kidshealth.org, 2013).

Lead is found in various substances such as deteriorating paints, household dust, drinking water, food ceramics, cosmetics, and home remedies among others. However, much of it is found in microscopic form, and individual bare eyes cannot see it. Therefore, the majority of children and adults with high lead level in their blood are exposed to it at their homes without knowing the fact. However, the biggest sources of lead toxins are the lead paints used in the interior and exterior of houses. However, the concern has been raised primarily on the lead paints that are deteriorating since paints that are intact have little effects on the environment (Koch, 2012). Deteriorated lead paints cause contamination of the soil and dust surrounding the households.

Exposure to lead has various implications for the health of both children and adults. However, during the formative years of a child, from the birth to six years when the brain and central nervous system are being formed, lead exposure can have serious effects on the child. For example, it can reduce IQ and cause stunted growth and behavioral problems among others. The use of leaded gasoline, which was recently banned, was also another significant contributing factor to lead environmental intoxication (Young, 2013). Therefore, there are various sources that cause contamination and lead intoxication in the environment implying various health implications to the people.

Critical Review

In the critical review of this presentation, the major points of analysis include the sources of lead intoxication, its effects, and means by which lead intoxication can be reduced. There are various sources of lead intoxication that have been introduced in the summary part which include the lead paints, lead gasoline, drinking water, hair dyes, cosmetics, and home remedies among others (Kresser, 2013). Drinking water used in homes is among the major contributors to lead exposure in households. This is based on the fact that water is a basic commodity in each household, and it is regularly used for various purposes in our daily life (Schwarcz, 2012).

Lead exposure in terms of drinking water arises from the fact that the lead pipes, brass faucets, copper pipes, and lead solders are used in fixing the water system. However, industrial waste also has also been found to contribute to high levels of lead in drinking water, where the industrial wastes find their ways into the water systems (Markowitz & Rosner, 2013). When an individual’s lead concentration in the blood increases over a short period of time, it is referred to as elevated lead poisoning. However, when the level of lead in the blood increases steadily over a long period of time, it is referred to as chronic lead intoxication (Rossiter, 2012).

However, in both cases, there are various health problems affecting individuals depending on the age and level of intoxication of the individual. For example, in children below the age of six years, the intoxication has been found to lead to impaired hearing, stunted growth, kidney damage, and behavioral problems among others (National Safety Council, 2009). In cases of high level of intoxication, individuals suffer from mental retardation, falling in coma, and even death. In adults, it has been found to increase blood pressure, cause nervous system disorders, memory and concentration issues, irritability, and infertility problems (Monbiot, 2013).

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