Lead leads to health concerns

As a University of California Irvine professor said in my last blog, “The world is facing many life-threatening impacts of climate change, so people having to spend a bit more to drink beer may seem trivial by comparison.”

Steven Davis, from the department of Earth System Sciences, means beer is a luxury consumption and people could live without it if we were to use barley for livestock instead of breweries —should the plant continue to be attacked by climate change.

Something everyone consumes that they need, however, is water.

Although water waste is a problem, I’m not here to talk about that. Rather, I’d like to discuss what’s in the water people consume — lead.

Lead is a toxin that enters drinking water when lead pipes corrode over the years. Homes built before 1986 are more likely to have lead pipes, according to the U.S. EPA. Other public drinking facilities like the ones in schools or at parks are common areas for lead pipes as well.

How does this affect people’s health?

Well, not much for adults. But, young children, infants and fetuses are the most vulnerable because of the physical and behavioral effects that lead produces. Lead exposure is linked to damage to the central and can affect nearly every system in the body, according the the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The EPA estimated that drinking water could make up more than 20 percent of a person’s total exposure to lead. Other exposure points are paint, dust, soil, air and food.

When children consume lead, they could be faced with behavior, learning or hearing problems; lower IQ and hyperactivity; slowed growth or anemia. In rarer cases, it could lead to to seizures, coma or death.

Women who are pregnant have a higher risk for reduced growth of the fetus or premature birth. Even if they do not consume lead during their pregnancy, lead can be stored and released from bones as maternal calcium is used to help form the bones of the fetus.

Though adults have a smaller risk than children, infants and fetuses, they still could suffer from cardiovascular effects, increased blood pressure and incidence of hypertension. Likewise, they can risk decreased kidney function and reproductive problems.

Do people know if they are consuming lead?

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