Lead used to be in gasoline, but then it was phased out. People may not have died from it, but it had effects on people’s health.
In what period would a child be much less likely to have lead poisoning due to the decrease in lead?
Was it children born in the early 80s who had very low levels of lead exposure? Are they the first generation of kids who weren’t exposed to environmental lead? What time frame was the first to not really be exposed to lead?
Among preschool age children, which I assume means age 3-4, lead levels peaked in the late 60s and early 70s. By the late 80s, a kid would have a fairly low level of lead so a kid born in maybe 1985 had very little lead.
However is that chart skewed because not everyone goes to preschool? Wouldn’t the kids who go to pre-school be of higher socioeconomic status than the general public, meaning the general public would have even higher levels?
I have a friend whose child born in the 90’s had to be treated for lead poisoning. He was hospitalized and chelated. They lived in an older neighborhood, and it turned out that the next door neighbor had had the lead paint sandblasted off their house, and the dust had settled in my friend’s yard shortly before she bought the house. Her small child played in the mud (in an area where there weren’t any plants growing because THEY’D BEEN POISONED, TOO) and his blood lead levels spiked.
They were lucky – the kid had been exposed to much less significant amounts of lead due to their remodeling the house, and that had shown up on routine screening, so the kid had been getting monthly lead tests, and they observed the spike right away.
There are still lots of old buildings around that are covered with lead paint. So I’m going to say that probably fewer kids are exposed to significant levels of lead each year, but there’s still plenty of lead risk out there.
I wasn’t discounting those sources, Pharmaceutical manufacturing and sales, genetic testing, workplace drug testing, and all of the hospitals and medical services in the U.S. totaled $24.4 billion in revenues last year and supplements totaled $48.7 billion.
As lead paint has been illegal for 40 years and leaded gasoline hasn’t been sold for 30 years the areas of risk have shifted. While there are still impacts from the previous era new risks are increasing.
Particularly with the rise of sales of these herbal and homeopathic remedies at drug stores. One actually has to read labels or search on the internet to find allopathic products in even large chains these days.
With RHoS rising and historical sources decreasing, outside of old water pipes it is one of the larger risk areas especially as ingestion is required.
Also don’t forget lead water pipes or even lead solder for newer copper pipes. This is the source of the Flint, Michigan water problems. It’s not that there is lead in the water source, but when they switched from Lake Huron water to Flint River water, which is more corrosive, it ate away the protective corrosion inhibitor (orthophosphate?) coating on the pipes. They also didn’t add any inhibitor to the system, which was even more necessary with the river water than the lake water, so all the lead water mains as well as service lines and even pipes within people’s homes were directly exposed to the water and caused lead contamination.
Also as to the exposure to leaded gasoline, there remains soil contamination next to any street that existed before leaded fuel was banned. One report which I briefly scanned noted that high-volume thoroughfares (so not residential side streets) produced a significant zone of lead contamination up to 50 meters on either side of the roadway. It will take a bit more reading to see how persistent it is in the ecosystem but lead isn’t one of those things that breaks down quickly. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/00022470.1976.10470310
It’s RoHS, which stands for Reduction of Hazardous Substances. For example, electronics that use lead-free solder to make connections.
Lead poisoning is still a problem in low-income neighborhoods. These are places where the houses are decades old and still have lead paint all over them. The families that live there may not have a lot of money for remediation/upkeep, which means the old lead paint may be peeling and crumbling, and they may not be well-educated about lead hazards. Here’s the situation in Michigan.
Although leaded gas has been banned for road use, it’s still used in general aviation. I don’t know what this means as far as lead exposure for people who spend time at general-aviation airports or live near them.
IIRC wasn’t one of the concerns for much older furniture that for example, cribs painted (or re-painted by owner) using lead paint wa a risk because babies teething might chew on that and ingest significant quantities…? Not to mention chewing on other painted furniture or windowsills or anything else that would have been painted and peeling that kids might gnaw on.
When I last shopped for houses, I did a ton of soil lead tests. The gradient for lead as you got farther from commercial roads was quite steep – there was a lot more lead close to the road than 20 meters away. It also spiked within a couple of feet of old buildings that were once painted with lead paint.
Lead is an element, so biological processes never break it down. They can move it around, though. Some green leafy vegetables concentrate lead in their leaves, and can be used to remediate a site. (The leaves are “harvested” and disposed of as hazardous waste.)
Something I recently learned - it is legal to produce and sell wall tiles that have lead in the outer glaze. This is because the lead is not motile, being trapped in the glaze, so it’s not hazardous just sitting there on the wall. However, if you remodel your bathroom or kitchen, removing the tiles from the wall, it’s assumed that the tiles will break, possibly sending microscopic bits of leaded glaze into the air with the rest of the demolition dust. The regulations aren’t as stringent as for asbestos, but whoever’s doing the demolition is supposed to have lead removal training first.
I was involved in the treatment of a few cases of lead poisoning as a pharmacist, and with one exception, all of them were in dogs. The scenario was usually this: The “parents” were renovating an old house, which led to powdered paint all over the house, and they caught the dog licking it up; apparently, dogs often really like the taste of lead paint. :eek: The veterinarian would order Chemet, for chelation therapy, and administer it by tube because that stuff smells like someone broke open a septic tank.
All ages are susceptible to lead poisoning, but the effects are more devastating the younger the person, and that does include fetuses.