Saturday, June 5, 2010

effects of Lead (Pb) -- like the Lead (Pb) found around ASARCO EL Paso TX

"[Lead is a naturally occurring bluish-gray metal found in small  amounts in the earth's crust. Lead can be found in all parts of our  environment. Lead itself does not break down, but lead compounds are  changed by sunlight, air, and water. When lead is released to the  air, it may travel long distances before settling to the ground. Once  lead falls onto soil, it usually sticks to soil particles. Movement  of lead from soil into groundwater will depend on the type of lead  compound and the characteristics of the soil.  Lead is a heavy metal that can be toxic to living bodies, humans and  animals, in certain high levels. Lead can be found in paints on  houses, on pottery, and other objects. Lead can be found in water, in  air around smelters, and in such objects as batteries.  When lead enters the body, generally through ingestion but also  through inhalation from dust and lead smelters, it may be seen as a  lead line on the metaphysis of growing bones in radiographs.  Lead can be especially detrimental to children as many tissues are  growing and developing and lead is easy incorporated into those  cells. It may slow growth, cause hearing problems, hyperactivity and  behavior changes.  Children with high lead burdens may have  neurological damage, including brain damage. This may present as  headaches or learning difficulties, muscle cramps, twitches or  spasms. It may be more severe, leading to seizures and death.  Adults may also suffer from lead poisoning. Adults may experience a  variety of neurological problems, among them, memory and  concentration problems. They may also have muscle and joint pain,  reproductive problems, and hypertension (high blood pressure). Adults  may also suffer from neurological problems as well.  Heavy metal intoxication almost always affects the gastrointestinal  system, such as diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, poor appetite and as a  consequence, weight loss. Anemia may also be seen in lead poisoning,  which further increases the weakness the victim experiences.  The effects of lead are the same whether it enters the body through  breathing or swallowing. Lead can affect almost every organ and  system in the body. The main target for lead toxicity is the nervous  system, both in adults and children. Long-term exposure of adults can  result in decreased performance in some tests that measure functions  of the nervous system. It may also cause weakness in fingers, wrists,  or ankles. Lead exposure also causes small increases in blood  pressure, particularly in middle-aged and older people and can cause  anemia. Exposure to high lead levels can severely damage the brain  and kidneys in adults or children and ultimately cause death. In  pregnant women, high levels of exposure to lead may cause  miscarriage. High-level exposure in men can damage the organs  responsible for sperm production.  Children are more vulnerable and more sensitive to lead poisoning  than adults. A child who swallows large amounts of lead may develop  blood anemia, severe stomachache, muscle weakness, and brain damage.  These same clinical signs mimic other childhood illness. If a child  swallows smaller amounts of lead, much less severe effects on blood  and brain function may occur. Even at much lower levels of exposure,  lead can affect a child's mental and physical growth.  Exposure to lead is more dangerous for young and unborn children.  Unborn children can be exposed to lead through their mothers. Harmful  effects include premature births, smaller babies, decreased mental  ability in the infant, learning difficulties, and reduced growth in  young children. These effects are more common if the mother or baby  was exposed to high levels of lead. Some of these effects may persist  beyond childhood.  Lead in the groundwater may be an issue in this case. Lead can be  absorbed from the drinking water. In the US, the level of lead in the  water is allowed at less than 0.15 ml of lead per liter of water  (less than 0.15 ppm). A number of water filtration units such as  reverse osmosis can filter out the lead. If the situation is more  primitive than this, I am unsure what to treat a well with. Calcium  disodium EDTA has been used to treat people, and putting it into a  water well may work to bind it, but I have no data support. Certainly  using a water system that is not contaminated with lead is the best  option.  If this is a case of lead in the air, then it is appropriate to cover  the mouth and nose and to remove one's self from the area.  Lead has no known physiological function in the body. It can be  tested for in the blood, but chelators are necessary to help  eliminate the metal from the body. Effective chelators include  dimercapterol and succimer.  Portions of this comment have been extracted from:  <http://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/tfacts13.html> - Mod.TG]"

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