Know about the long-term effects of lead exposure

Lead poisoning is preventable, yet the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation has estimated that, based on 2016 data, lead exposure accounted for 540, 000 deaths due to long-term effects on health, with the highest burden in developing regions

Image Source: Google
Image Source: Google

From 21 to 27 October 2018 the international lead poisoning prevention week of action will take place, with a particular focus on eliminating lead paint.

Of particular concern is the role of lead exposure in the development of intellectual disability in children. Even though there is wide recognition of this problem and many countries have taken action, exposure to lead, particularly in childhood, remains of key concern to health care providers and public health officials worldwide.

Dr Mahaveer Modi, chest physician from Pune, said, “Lead has no biological function in the body. It accumulates in the body and affects practically all organ systems. Lead exposure can cause chronic and debilitating health impacts in all age groups, but it is particularly harmful to young children. This is because the developing nervous system is vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead, even at levels of exposure that do not cause obvious symptoms and signs.”

“Lead exposure in early childhood can result in reduced cognitive abilities, dyslexia, attention deficit disorder and antisocial behaviour. Lead exposure can also cause hypertension, renal impairment, immunotoxicity and toxicity to the reproductive organs,” he added.

Dr Nitin Karmarkar, an environmentalist from Pune, said, “One of the ways to protect yourself and your family from lead exposure is to be a careful consumer. You should try to get informed about sources of lead exposure in your community and avoid buying products that may contain lead.”

He added, “If you are planning to redecorate a building or to renovate painted furniture, and you think the original paint may contain lead, you should get expert advice about safe methods for removing the paint. You should also take care when buying cosmetics and traditional medicines to only buy from a regulated manufacturer, as high levels of lead have been reported in some of these products.”