What is it & who is affected ?
• Lead is a highly toxic substance, exposure to which can produce a wide range of adverse health
• Lead occurs naturally in the earth's crust.
• When ingested, inhaled, or absorbed through skin, lead is highlytoxic to humans.
• No level of lead in blood is safe or normal.
• The disturbing fact is that exposure to extremely small amounts can have long-term and measurable
effects in children while at the same time causing no distinctive symptoms.
• Once lead is absorbed into the bloodstream, some of it is filtered out and excreted, but the rest gets
distributed to the liver, brain, kidneys and bones.
• Both adults and children can suffer from the effects of lead poisoning, but childhood lead poisoning is
much more frequent.
• Children's digestive system absorbs up to 50% of the lead they ingest.
There are many ways in which humans are exposed to lead :
• Through deteriorating paint, household dust, bare soil, air, drinking water, food, ceramics, home
remedies, hair dyes and other cosmetics.
• By far the biggest source of concern is the lead based paint that is commonly used on the interiors
and exteriors of our homes.
• While lead paint that is in intact condition does not pose an immediate concern, lead paint that is
allowed to deteriorate creates a lead-based paint hazard.
• It can contaminate household dust as well as bare soil around the house, where children may play.
• All it takes is the lead dust equivalent of a single grain of salt for a child to register an elevated blood
Why is Lead harmful ?
• Lead can cause harm wherever it lands in the body.
• In the bloodstream, for example, it can damage red blood cells and limit their ability to carry oxygen to
the organs and tissues that need it.
• Most lead ends up in the bone, where it causes even more problems. Lead can interfere with the
production of blood cells and the absorption of calcium that bones need to grow healthy and strong.
• What Are the Effects of Long-Term Lead Poisoning?
1. Decreased bone and muscle growth
2. poor muscle coordination
3. damage to the nervous system, kidneys, and/or hearing
4. speech and language problems, developmental delay
5. Seizures, unconsciousness (in cases of extremely high lead levels)
• The World Health Organization estimates that 15-18 million children in developing countries areAwareness & Prevention
suffering from permanent brain damage due to lead poisoning.
• The good news is that you canprotect yourself & your family from lead poisoning.
• Be aware about potential lead sources in your house or anywhere your child spends long periods of
• Deficiency of iron, calcium and zinc increase absorption and effects of lead.
• A developing country like India can tackle this serious, but preventable environmental health hazard
through proper awareness and prevention measures.