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Lead is a naturally occurring metal found throughout the environment. High levels of lead have entered the environment through human activities such as mining, industrial processes, and the burning of fuels.
Lead is used in hundreds of products, for example, as an additive in gasoline, in the production of batteries, as an additive in some paints, in soldering, in the manufacture of stained glass and glass, in ammunition, in ceramic enamels and in some cosmetics and traditional medicines.
Drinking water supplied through lead pipes or pipes joined with lead solder may contain lead. Lead poisoning is a serious childhood health problem around the world.
Children are more likely to be exposed to lead from fumes from automobiles, where leaded gasoline is still used, and from ingesting flakes and dust from decomposing lead-based paint. This affects children's brain development and their measurable level of intelligence (IQ).
After it enters the body, lead is distributed to organs such as the kidneys, liver, and bones. The body stores lead in teeth and bones where it builds up over time.
Malnourished children are more susceptible to lead because their bodies absorb more lead if other nutrients, such as calcium, are lacking.
A global alliance to reduce environmental risks to children's health arising from the environments where they live, learn, play, and sometimes work by providing knowledge, increasing political will, mobilizing resources, and catalyzing intense and urgent action.
Safe levels of lead in the blood are not known, but it is known that as lead exposure increases, so does the range and severity of symptoms and effects. Even blood lead levels around 10 ug / dl, once considered a "safe level," can lead to decreased intelligence in children, behavioral difficulties and learning problems.
Other central nervous system (CNS) functions are suspected of being affected by mild elevations in lead and are under investigation. Higher levels of lead in the blood can cause CNS effects, reduced IQ, impaired growth, damage to the kidneys and other organs, and compromise red blood cell development.
Acute lead poisoning can lead to seizures, coma, and sometimes death. Lead absorbed by the fetus can cause miscarriage, premature labor, or low birth weight.
Children's vulnerability to lead
Behavior: Young children explore their environment by putting their hands and other objects in their mouths, a major route of exposure to lead. Because very young children scream and play on the floor, they are directly exposed to the areas where lead dust accumulates the most. Children with pica, a tendency to eat non-food items, are particularly vulnerable to lead poisoning, as they will likely ingest lead if it is in paint chips, dirt, or other foods that the child eats.
Physiological: in relation to their size, children breathe more air, consume more food and drink more water than adults. Lead in the air, water, or food will expose children more than adults. In addition to that, children's bodies absorb higher proportions of lead than adult bodies.
A young child will absorb about 50% of ingested lead, while an adult will absorb about 10%.
Children's brains and nervous systems are also more sensitive to the damaging effects of lead and may not be able to repair the damage caused. Children's organs are developing from the fetal stage through adolescence.
During the first few years of life, a child's ability to metabolize, detoxify, and eliminate toxins differs from that of an adult, making the child more susceptible to lead.
DevelopingChildren have their entire lives ahead of them to develop health effects from lead exposure and suffer the consequences of lead poisoning in their early years. Additionally, children's systems can be permanently damaged if exposed to toxins such as lead during certain crucial developmental periods.
Actions at every level make a difference
Many countries around the world have successfully made fuel policy changes, now consuming only unleaded gasoline. In 2002, the World Summit on Sustainable Development called for the global elimination of lead from gasoline.
The World Bank continues to work with countries to reformulate gasoline and remove lead additives.
National clean air policies with strong enforcement mechanisms, particularly with respect to industrial sources, coupled with the removal of lead from gasoline, can eliminate the airway of lead exposure and therefore radically decrease childhood exposure to lead.
Countries like the United States have documented evidence of dramatic decreases in children's blood lead levels correlated with the removal of lead from gasoline.
Setting and lowering targets (eg, Below 10 ug / dl) for infant blood lead levels, as well as recording and monitoring these levels, provide an excellent means of evaluating progress in testing. reducing lead exposure in children and helping countries identify key sources of lead contamination.
Lead in your home
-Identify possible sources of lead in the home, such as paint, water, food containers. Seek professional advice on actions to take regarding lead-based paint and its removal.
Keep the house as clean and dust-free as possible. Wash your hands frequently and run the tap water for 30 seconds before drinking water to reduce lead. Concentrations of the water found in the pipes.
-Provide children with vitamin-rich nutrition to reduce lead absorption. the first two years of life, for children whose household members have had a high lead index, for children who live in areas exposed to lead, and for children whose household members work in industries that use lead.
Lead in school
-Schools should be located away from major roads and industrial sources of lead.
-Keep the school facilities clean and as dust-free as possible. -Teachers and staff should use good hygiene practices such as frequent hand washing and instructing. Children to do the same.
-Schools should identify whether or not lead-based paint has been used on the premises and, if so, be vigilant about flaking lead-based paint and seek professional assistance in taking action to eliminate sources of exposure to the lead.
Lead in the community
-Disseminate information about lead in childhood, with an emphasis on special vulnerabilities of children, sources of lead contamination, ways to eliminate sources of lead.
-Test and report results on lead found in soil, air, water, food, toys and other items used by children.
- Advocate for effective regulation and establishment of policies to decrease lead exposure.
- Healthcare professionals should increase their knowledge of lead poisoning, screen children for lead exposure, and report results for blood lead levels.
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