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LEAD POISONING - A PREVENTABLE CAUSE OF ILL HEALTH IN CHILDREN

There are many environmental pollutants and toxins that adversely effect the health and development of children worldwide. The burden is heavier on children in the developing world where there is often no governmental oversight to the use of certain known toxic substances that contaminate the environment. Lead poisoning is one example of a preventable disease that has serious health effects particularly for children.

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                   LEAD IS A HIGHLY TOXIC METAL.
 It can be found in many products in homes and at work environments. In the US before 1978, lead was present paint and pipes and until the late 1980s it was in gasoline. Because it was so commonly used, much of the water, soil, and air in our environment also contained lead particles. Many studies have shown that lead exposure causes serious health effects, especially for children.  In the developing world lead exposure continues to be a problem for children and it is a preventable burden of diseas   The Children's Environmental Health Network


YOUNG CHILDREN ARE MOST VULNERABLE TO LEAD TOXICITY
                   Lead poisoning is entirely preventable.

"Children are more vulnerable to the harmful effects of lead because of their developing brains and nervous systems. Children, especially under the age of six, also absorb greater amounts of lead than adults do even when their exposure to lead is identical. In addition, children’s behavior, including increased hand to mouth activity, a tendency to crawl and play in spaces that could be contaminated by lead, and a lack of awareness about proper safety and sanitary habits, all put children at a higher risk for lead poisoning. The damage from lead poisoning is life long. In the US there are established guidelines for lead testing and treatment."
(The Children's Environmental Health Network)


                     ​COMMON SOURCES OF LEAD  

Paint in houses
Soil contaminated with lead particles
From industries that release it into the air - lead smelters
In water if pipes contain lead
Old toys, furniture - painted with lead
Ceramic Pottery with lead glazes

                     
                     SERIOUS HEALTH EFFECTS 
 
Damage to the Brain and Nervous System --> Intellectual Disabilities
Behavioral Problems - Hyperactivity, Attention Problems
Slowed Growth
Hearing Problems
Headaches
Memory and Concentration Problems

               
                                      FACTS    

OVER 99% OF CHILDREN AFFECTED BY HIGH EXPOSURE TO LEAD LIVE IN LOW AND MIDDLE INCOME COUNTRIES.
WHO Lead Fact Sheet 2014


Childhood lead exposure is estimated to contribute to about 600 000 new cases of children developing intellectual disabilities every year.

Lead exposure is estimated to account for 143 000 deaths per year with the highest burden in developing regions.

About one half of the burden of disease from lead occurs in the WHO South-East Asia Region, with about one-fifth each in the WHO Western Pacific and Eastern Mediterranean Regions.

Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time.

Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood.  There is no known level of lead exposure that is considered safe.

Lead poisoning is entirely preventable.


 
                   GLOBAL HEALTH CAMPAIGN

WHO Lead Free Kids For A Healthy Future Campaign 2014


                           
                                   IN THE NEWS

Africa - Raising Awareness of Lead Poisoning - 2013

Dar Needs Law To Control Lead Paint - DailyNews, 11/3/13,
Tanzania's Leading Online News Edition


                                   RESEARCH 

The Pediatric Burden of Disease From Lead Exposure At Toxic Waste Sites in Low and Middle Income Countries; K. Chatham-Stephens et al.  Environmental Research 132 (2014) 379–383
See PDF.



                                 PREVENTION 

 From The Centers For Disease Control - USA 


How can we increase awareness of the harmful effects of lead on the health of young children, in low income communities in the developing world?  

What resources can we design to educate parents on ways to decrease their children's exposure to lead in their environment?  What can we design to reach parents with low literacy?

see educational video above as an example 

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