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Lead Contamination Effects on Children

Essay by   •  January 16, 2013  •  Research Paper  •  1,727 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,456 Views

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Lead contamination effects on children

Heavy metals are harmful for the environment and human health, there are many researches showing that they are risking people health, they threaten public health. Lead is one of the top toxic and spread all over the world. Lead risk children at low level. Comparing with other heavy metal, low level lead is extreme toxic. Most children were lead poisoned by lead exposure from air, water, soil. Lead contamination occurs in industrial, residential, agriculture and food. Research found that the standard blood lead level is 10μg/dL (Koller 2004). The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that 310,000 children between 1 and 6 years of age in the United States have blood lead (PbB) levels greater than 10 micrograms per deciliter (CDC 2005). Children is the future, if their bodies contain lead, they will pass to their next generation and later all people contain high concentration of lead. The objective of this project is to learn how lead exposure effects on children and try to prevent this issue and make improvement.

Lead is one of the most common heavy metal used in industries all the time. People started to use lead in early centuries, in Europe and U.S. People use lead to build ships and weapons. Later on, people realized how harmful lead is to the environment and human health, they replaced lead or reduce the use of lead. Lead level reduced in the developed countries in recent centuries. Developing countries are building industries and try to produce more products, they have high level of lead. Lead exposure could go through the air, water and soil. Once, they get into the air, water, and soil, they are spreading to the world. The people who live near industries have high level of lead in their bodies. China is the top developing country that has very high lead level. Shenyang is one of the top 10 heavy metal contaminated city in north China. There was a research in Shenyang, they found out that industries have the highest concentration comparing with residential, etc. The research also found that soils more close to the industries, the more contaminated. Children like to play in ground or touch dirt. Soil contains high level lead, children touch it directly, children in Shenyang have high blood lead level. Lead is more easily to poison young children, especially the ones below 6 years old. Research found that children have high opportunities to have high lead level if their parents work in industries or do work that due with lead. Lead can goes to the air, so it is easy to attach to clothes. When the parents get home, children get lead by touch their clothes or the parents.

Residential is another major source of lead intake by children. Lead- based paint and dust lead are two major path ways of getting lead poisoning from the household. Using lead-based paint makes the whole environment contain lead. Research found that it is very harmful for people whoever lives in the house. Lead- based paint was banned by Consumer Product Safety Commission and Congress in 1978 (Gaitens, 2009). The houses build before 1978 have high lead concentration in the environment. The number of years children lived in that house is the number of years they were poisoned by lead. In U.S, there are 38 million houses build by lead-based paint and 24 million houses have high lead concentration (Jacobs et al. 2002). Lead can go to the air, it can also goes to the dust. Dust lead always stacks the windowsills, doors, and floor which are places children mostly likely to touch. Children like to eat or taste whatever they touched. Children like to lie over or sit on the windowsills. They also like to play on the floor. In household, most things they touch have high chance to get lead. If the neighborhood contain less lead, children in that area are safe. If not, children in that area are in a dangerous position. Toys were found have lead, too (Koller 2004). Children have high blood lead level come from low income families. Since they are not rich to buy new houses or live in good condition, neighborhood. Children who have hand-to-mouth behavior are super dangerous. Even children don't do the hand to mouth activity, still have chance to get lead if they touch the toys. Lead can not only enter blood also bones. Children who were lead poisoned also have high bone lead level. Once lead enters bones, it is very hard to take it out. Lead competes with Calcium and other essential element in human body. Lead will block intake of Calcium and lost minerals (Hernández-Avila, 1998).

Agriculture is a source of lead exposure. Farmers try to produce more products, they use chemical fertilizers. Fertilizers increase soil fertility and increase plants gaining. Mineral fertilizers contain heavy metals, especially lead. As they use mineral fertilizers, more lead is taken into the soil. It is impossible to remove lead at soil right now. Later, the lead spread in the soil, continue to contaminate other areas until no pure place left. As time goes, the concentration of lead in the soil increases. People get touch with lead by the soil and eat the plants that grew in the contaminated soil area. The soil is contaminated, animals eat grass or make contact with soil. People eat plants and animals. The whole food chain gets contaminated. Phosphate fertilizer has the highest concentration of lead which is a big threat to human health. There are many places that have been treated with these mineral fertilizers for many years, the lead concentration is very high. Those places need to stop using mineral fertilizers, but still no way to remove lead in those areas. China is a big country who requires lots of food. Agriculture always used in China. Research found that the lead concentration in arid agriculture in China is 72.48% (Gou 2008). China has the highest lead concentration in arid agriculture. Those mineral fertilizers also go to groundwater. Inappropriate way to disposal those waste water may be a big threat for future. In the Mezquital Valley, Mexico, due to the overpopulation, discharged waste water is used to do agriculture activities. Discharge the waste water increase the chance to poisoning people. Over population demand more food supply does not mean taking this advantage is right.

Cross sectional studies is that measure blood lead level at a specific time to check their health status. The perspective (longitudinal) studies have more advantages. The solution to lead contamination is growing organic food, try to replace lead or minimize it, and continue the research to find ways to remove lead. The good thing about this project is let people



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