Let’s Get the Lead Out
The Flint, Michigan water crisis raises concerns about the effects of lead poisoning on children. According to the World Health Organization, lead poisoning accounts for 0.6% of the global burden of disease. Children are particularly susceptible to the effects of lead poisoning even at low levels, according to recent research. Effects can range from anemia to neurological damage. Research also shows that low-level lead poisoning may have harmful effects on the cardiovascular, immune and reproductive systems.
“Lead poisoning continues to be one of the single most important environmental problems facing children today,” says Cyrus Rangan, MD, pediatrician and medical toxicology consultant at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. “Although lead poisoning rates have improved significantly over the last several decades, children still face many sources of lead exposure in their environments. All over the country, many communities are exposed to numerous local environmental hazards, including transportation, factories, sanitation facilities, oil and gas operations and many others. These hazards are sometimes very closely situated with communities, many with poor and underrepresented socioeconomic status.” Rangan is also the assistant medical director of the California Poison Control System.
For more information about the effects of lead poisoning and ways to prevent it, check out the infographic below from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.