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FIRST THINGS FIRST: WHAT, EXACTLY, IS LEAD?

ABOUT LEAD

CAUSES

ABOUT LEAD

HEALTH EFFECTS

WHAT, EXACTLY, IS LEAD?

lead is a chemical element that can be found in the Earth’s crust. It can be found in almost every part of our environment, including soil, air, and water. Lead is a heavy metal that may cause harm to your health and well-being. As the world has learned all too well, Lead based paint and leaded gasoline are no longer available due to some governments regulations. Despite this, lead can still find its way into the environment in a various ways. Current and old Industrial sources and contaminated sites can raise the concentration of lead in neighbouring air and soil.

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CAUSES OF LEAD IN WATER

Alarming levels of lead in some areas of drinking water are still present. The vast majority of governments have rebuilt pipes and inspected thousands of service lines, which raises the question of how this occurred in the first place and how does lead to get into our water supply?

 

Lead-containing service pipes are a big part of the dilemma, but so is the corrosion process. According to the American Water Works Association journal article, corrosion is a natural process that occurs between water and the pipes that convey treated water to your home. The metal in the pipes degrades and wears away due to a chemical process. Water is normally not contaminated with lead as it leaves the treatment facility. However, if the pipes servicing your home have lead in their construction, this can happen in transit before the water reaches your tap.

EFFECTS OF LEAD IN DRINKING WATER

Lead exposure can have serious consequences for the health of children. At high levels of exposure, lead attacks the brain and central nervous system, causing coma, convulsions and even death. Children who survive severe lead poisoning may be left with intellectual disability and behavioural disorders. At lower levels of exposure that cause no obvious symptoms, lead is now known to produce a spectrum of injuries across multiple body systems. In particular, lead can affect a child’s brain development, resulting in reduced intelligence quotient (IQ), behavioural changes such as reduced attention span and increased antisocial behaviour.

 

Lead could also be harmful to adults, where exposure to lead causes one to suffer from:

  • Cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension.

  • Decreased kidney function.

  • Reproductive problems (in both men and women).

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