Lead, the toxic metal known to be harmful to man, has been sneaking
unoticed into the bloodstreams of millions of Americans over many years.
It seeps insidiously into our water risking the lives of our unborn and our
children, often going unnoticed until it's too late. It enters our homes
on the feet of every occupant, picked up from the soil outside. It can cover the work clothes of mechanics, plumbers, lead smelter workers, and other high risk occupations. The same clothes that we wash along with our children's clothes, unknowingly endangering them.
Lead is an invisible enemy, often in the form of simple dust that
enters our home. Dust that can be both inhaled or ingested especially by young children who tend to put everything in their mouths.
In other words lead poisoning is still a very real threat present in
our environment, damaging the brains and nervous system of many of it's victims, the majority of which are children.
Of great concern is our water supply. The EPA (Environmental
Protection Agency) estimates that about forty two million Americans use household water that contains unsafe levels of lead. Precisely, levels in excess of 15 ppb (parts per billion), which is the highest recommended safety level. However, there is no truly safe level of lead, because it does not belong in the human body, and it does not leave our bodies once it has entered. Instead, it is stored just like calcium and other minerals in the bone matter where it continues to build up over our lifetime.
It's no wonder that as many as one out of eleven children in the
United States have dangerously high levels of lead in their bloodstream according to the EPA. Some other sources suggest this number is as great as one in eight children!
As hard as this is to believe, the facts are very real. Lead is
decreasing the I.Q.'s of many young victims, creating learning
disabilities, such as speech and behavior problems, not to mention hearing loss, muscular coordination problems, and much more.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that regular lead
screening should be done on children up to age six, with the first test
done between six to twelve months of age. However, it has been my personal
experience that Pediatricians are not routinely checking for lead in
children. Certainly none have ever suggested it to me, and my children
have seen a dozen different Pediatrician's over the years.
It appears that few people really believe their families are at risk
and feel their homes are safe. The reality is however, that your home's water probably does contain lead in some amount, and in fact, an estimated 10 million children receive significantly high amounts of lead in their
drinking water in our country every day.
Following are some other common sources of lead.
foreign made crayons
water pipe corrosion
water pipe solder
Today experts regard soldering as the major cause of lead contamination of
household water in U.S. homes. New brass faucets and fittings can also
leach lead during corrosion, even though they claim to be "lead free."
It's sad to note that the newer the home, the greater the risk of lead
contamination. Why? Because normally, as time passes, mineral deposits
form a coating on the inside of water pipes, (if the water is not corrosive.) This coating insulates the water from the lead-containing solder present. But during the first five years, before the coating forms, water is in direct contact with the lead and carries it into your home.
Some recent studies suggest that food is our main source of adult
human exposure with as much as 60% of total ingested lead coming from the food we eat, air inhalation accounting for 30%, and water for 10%.
Children, pregnant women, and calcium deficient individuals are in the
greatest risk group for lead toxicity. What's frightening to realize is
that dangerously high levels of lead do not necessarily present any symptoms in children. So it's no surprise few Physicians or parents ever suspect lead toxicity in their children.
It's also interesting to note that many of the symptoms of ADHD,
(Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder), mimic those of lead toxicity.
I can't help but wonder how many children diagnosed with this disease may
actually be lead toxic instead. Take a look at the symptoms that may or
may not present themselves.
behavior and learning problems
brain and nervous system damage
earing and speech problems
lack of muscular coordination
difficulty during pregnancy, such as miscarriage, etc.
reproductive problems (men and women)
high blood pressure
muscle and joint pain
memory and concentration problems