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Childhood Lead Poisoning

Lead poisoning among children is a serious environmental health problem, says the World Health Organization (WHO). Although many countries have made major progress in reducing the use of lead in gasoline, the metal continues to be found in many industrial processes.

Lead poisoning among children is a serious environmental health problem, says the World Health Organization (WHO). Although many countries have made major progress in reducing the use of lead in gasoline, the metal persists in many industrial activities.

1 - What is lead?
- Lead is a soft blue-gray metal found in the Earth's crust. It is used in manufacturing products like gasoline, paint and ceramics, and in many industrial processes.

2 - How is lead poisoning detected?
- Through blood tests. This simple diagnostic tool can help prevent irreversible harm to a child's health.

3- What are the symptoms?
- Lead poisoning affects virtually every system in the body, but often occurs with no distinctive symptoms. Lead can damage a child's central nervous system, kidneys, and reproductive system and, if there is a high level of lead in the blood, can cause coma, convulsions, and even death. All children at risk of lead exposure should be tested.

4 - Is lead poisoning preventable?
- It is considered a preventable environmental illness when the means exist to eliminate potential sources of lead contamination.

5 - What are the main sources of lead exposure?
- The use of leaded gasoline, industrial processes that involve this metal, some types of paint, lead water pipes, batteries and some types of ceramics are the primary sources.

6 - How does lead contamination occur?
- Lead can be in the water, in the air, in the walls of a house or in the soil. Lead enters the human body through inhalation, ingestion or through the skin. Lead is not biodegradable and is an element that is practically indestructible.

(Sources: WHO, U.S. CDC, LegalConsumerGuide.com)




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