One in three children around the world have enough lead in their blood to endanger their long-term health, scientists have found. The Unicef-published report, based on blood tests performed on hundreds of thousands of children worldwide, estimates that around 800 million under-19s have at least five micrograms of lead in their blood per decilitre – widely defined as the potentially unsafe level for children.
Though the use of lead in petrol, paints and water pipes has been phased out, a number of sources of exposure still remain – including car batteries, which use lead and acid to generate a charge, and food additives containing lead compounds, which are used in some countries to sharpen the colours of spices. Exposure to even modest levels of lead can cause symptoms ranging from pain, vomiting and seizures to developmental delay, mental difficulties and mood disorders.
Nicholas Rees, a policy specialist at Unicef and co-author of the report, described the findings as “absolutely shocking”. (The Week 15 Aug 2020)
My comment: The situation in the US is getting worse as safety and health regulations are being (or have been) scrapped or rolled back to please big business. The US health system is already skewed quite enough towards those with money to pay for it, good if you can afford it, but “exclusive” (shall we call it). Epicurus, were he alive today would advocate a healthcare system accessible to all. But first, he would demand that dangerous substances, such as lead, are immediately banned in products handled, breathed or eaten by the public. Common sense? Mmmmmh!
Why do I even have to discuss this?