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  lead2   Lead is a popular metal that has been in existence since the creation of man. It is a known metal used today for the manufacturing of stained glasses, batteries, jewelries, metal works, artwork, paint, sculpture, construction materials etc. This metal has long been recognized as a harmful environmental pollutant, toxic to both children and adults. It is most harmful to young children from the age of six and below (due to body size and brain formation). It is very hazardous when gasped or swallowed by accident, which can impair the developmental process of a child’s brain. The symptoms of lead poisoning are undersized or show no indication. A test that measures the lead level in the blood is the only way it can be traced. It primarily settles in the bone, where it impedes the absorption of calcium for strong bones and the production of blood for the body. Humans are exposed to lead through the following ways: paint, art and leisure materials, contaminated soil, jewelries, industrial materials /areas, drinking water, dust etc. The Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) came up with the following conclusions on its exposure on both children and adults. In children lead exposure can cause the following: Learning disabilities (decreased IQ), attention deficit disorder, behavior issues, nervous system damage, speech and language impairment, decreased muscle growth/bone growth, kidney damage or death and Anemia. In Adults lead exposure can cause the following: Fertility problems (men and women), damage to fetus, brain damage, high blood pressure, digestive issues, nerve disorders ,muscle pain , illness during pregnancy and  Anemia . Listed below are ways one can prevent lead exposure by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Keep homes clean: Keep clean windows, doors, floors and a generally clean home and surrounding. Keep all areas around the house free from dust, and toys and stuffed animal should be washed regularly. Drinking water: Old buildings have contingencies of having rusted pipes. If you have older pipes in your home, be sure to run the water for a minute or two before using it. Drinking water may contain lead in it, through leaching from lead-containing pipes and solder. Have water tested, do not use hot tap water for drinking purposes. Avoid lead paints for homes: The most common source of lead exposure is through lead paint. Lead carbonate is a drying agent added to paints to increase durability and prevents surface from corrosion. Consult a paint expert on the right paint to get for homes .Pregnant women and children should stay away during renovation. Be careful during remodeling to avoid dust and scuffed paint from cracked walls. Jewelry and material for leisure: Some jewelry is made out of lead, leisure materials like fishing lure, fishing sinker, artist paint, stained glass etc contains lead. Such materials should be kept out of the reach of children. Get a non toxic artistic paint if a child is interested in painting. Eat healthy: Good nutrition can prevent the body from absorbing lead. Eat foods that contain high calcium, vitamin c, iron, zinc, phosphorous. Do not store edible (solid or liquids) in lead crystal glassware or old pottery. If you work in an environment that is exposed to lead (industrial areas), bath or wash up and have a change of clothes before you leave the environment. Children should stay away from environments that are contaminated since they are more susceptible.  

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This article was first published on 9th May 2014

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