Lead Toxicity in Children Essay

Lead Toxicity in Children Essay

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Lead Toxicity in Children


Lead poisoning in children was first discovered in 1890 in Queensland, Australia. The lead source was not identified until 1904, when a researcher traced it to the paint used on railings and verandahs. The first discovery of lead poisoning in the United States (with a traceable source) was in 1914; the child had chewed the paint off of his crib. At this time they linked lead poisoning as a cause of convulsions in children. As research progressed and more children were found with high lead levels, symptoms caused by lead were expanded to include lead meningitis, acute encephalopathy, intellectual dullness, reduced consciousness, seizures, comas, and death (Chisholm, 1982).

Lead is a metal found virtually everywhere even today. Sources of lead include auto body shops, electric storage batteries, glazes for china dishes, crockery, insecticides, electric cable insulation, hose, pipe, sheet and floor coverings. Lead is associated with stain glass work, jewelry making and antique ceramic doll painting. Although lead in paint was outlawed, there are still many homes that have lead paint (White et al, 1990). Lead found in gasoline was found in one study to account for 23--27% of the lead blood levels in the people tested (Wagner, 1991). This exposure to lead sources is more of a concern for children due to the characteristic habit of children to taste everything they touch; this characteristic is known as pica. Children are also in closer contact with their lead polluted environment during play. They are more active and exposed to outdoor contaminates and they inhale dust and dirt that are lead contaminated. Furthermore, the adsorption rate of lead in the digestive tract is up to 10 times greater in chil...


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...inical to Subtle Health Effects. Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol. 86, 1990, pp.177-181.

Markowitz, M. and Rosen, J. Need for the Lead Mobilization Test in Children with Lead Poisoning. The Journal of Pediatrics. Vol. 119, No. 2, August 1991, pp. 305-310.

McCabe Jr., M. and Lawrence, D. Lead, A Major Environmental Pollutant, Is Immunomodulatory by Its Differential Effects on CD4+ T Cell Subsets. Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology, Vol. 111, 1991, pp. 13-23.

Singhal, R. L., and Thomas, J. A. Lead Toxicity. Urban and Schwarzenberg, Baltimore-Munich, 1980.

Wagner, H. M. Recent Trends In Human Lead Exposure. New Horizons in Biological Dosimetry, 1991, pp. 179-186.

White, R., Feldman, R., and Travers, P. Neurobehavioral Effects of Toxicity Due to Metals, Solvents, and Insecticides. Clinical Neuropharmacology, Vol. 13, No. 5, 1990, pp. 392-412.

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