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An essay on the effects of Lead on the Human population.Lead poisoning occurs when human bodies get exposed to the metal. Lead poisoning is a common phenomenon that has been reported in many areas of the world and it usually occurs in two main ways, acute and chroming poisoning. Acute lead poisoning occurs when there are higher levels of exposure to the metal while chronic lead poisoning occurs if there is low but gradual exposure to the metal. Chronic lead poisoning’s effects take a lot of time to be felt after there is the accumulation of enough lead, altering the body functioning. Symptoms of acute lead poisoning may include severe headaches, digestive difficulties, convulsion, weak muscles, excessive fatigue, constipation, diarrhea, and vomiting. Chronic lead poisoning symptoms include neuro-behavioral effects in children, fatigue, muscle weakness and general malaise.
Exposure to lead occurs in different ways although it is mainly through exposure to lead in paint and petrol. Lead poisoning can also occur during its mining, processing or transportation. Lead can also be found in the soil as it is a persistent compound. Although health regulations have ensured that leaded paints and petrol are done away through, traces of the metal can be found in these products.
Lead poisoning affects the human IQ especially due to occupational exposure for adults. Lead poisoning can be transferred from pregnant mothers to their developing unborn children. This is because research has indicated that lead can cross from the mother to unborn children through the placental without being limited by the placenta barrier. Research on lead poisoning has linked it with behavioral changes such as individuals being anti-social and developing criminal habits. The effects on the IQ are generally high among children compared to adults because children can absorb up to 4 to 5 times more than adults under similar conditions of exposure.
Children are also vulnerable to lead poisoning because of their curiosity and their cravings to eat items that may not be necessarily food. In this process, children eat leaded paints on walls, furniture, soil and door frames increasing their exposure to lead poisoning. Children experiencing lead poisoning experience poor mental development and in excess poisoning, end up dying prematurely. Lead poisoning affects the nervous system of the fetus and in higher levels can lead to miscarriage, infertility in both men and women or stillbirths.
Prolonged exposure to lead can lead to kidney diseases including kidney failure. A research to determine if lead poisoning could lead to kidney diseases and eventually kidney failure made findings that indeed lead poisoning could lead to renal diseases. The research involved a research on 53 patients who had been diagnosed with lead poisoning with varying lengths of exposure. The researchers found out those patients who had been exposed to lead for lengthy periods exhibited permanent changes in what is known as chronic nephropathy. The scientists concluded that when there is lead intoxication in humans, it could lead to renal lesions.
Acute lead poisoning can lead to cardiovascular diseases, especially high blood pressure. Research has shown that lead in the human body affects the contraction and excitability of the human heat and this can lead to high blood pressure. This is because the presence of lead in the body hinders the normal functioning of the heart by altering how the smooth vascular muscles function. Since research has shown that lead poisoning also affects the body’s nervous system that controls the general body activities; it is likely to alter how the heart works. The Journal of the American Medical Association in the March 26, 2003, issue linked lead poisoning to the thinning of bones and high blood pressure in post-menopausal women. This was after a successful research that involved 2,165 women who were aged between 40 years and 59 years for a period of six years.
Scientific research shows that prolonged exposure to lead can lead to anemia (lead-induced anemia). Lead induced anemia has been attributed due to the reduced production of hemoglobin in the body and hemolysis. Hemoglobin is the compound that is found in the blood and allows for the packaging and transportation of oxygen from the lungs to other body parts and tissues. A person with acute lead poisoning could suffer from reduced hemoglobin levels as the metal gets its way into the blood. Hemolysis is a health condition where the red blood cells rupture and this allows for their contents to mix with blood plasma. This condition leads to insufficient amounts of hemoglobin in the red blood cells hence leading to lead-induced anemia.
Scientists and medics agree that there are no levels of lead exposure that can be termed as safe. This is because even small amounts of lead exposure could accumulate on the human body over time and lead to chronic lead poisoning. Avoiding any form of exposure to lead poisoning is the safest way to deal with lead poisoning.
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