Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Beware of Lead (Pb) poisoning!

Abe V Rotor

NOTE: This is a lesson in Advanced Ecology, UST Graduate School. Read more about lead poisoning, so with other toxic metals, like Mercury and Cadmium. This topic was discussed on Paaralang Bayan sa Himpapawid, Please refer to previous posts in this Blog.

The case of the sickly boy.

Here is a case of slow lead poisoning. He was a boy of five, and the kindly old family doctor was puzzled of his sickly condition. Then on a fine Sunday morning the doctor happened to drop at the boy’s residence. While having coffee with the family the doctor exclaimed, “Now I know why my young patient is sickly!”

It was like Archimedes who got out of the bathtub shouting, “Eureka! Eureka!” (I found it, I found it) He pointed at the gold lining on the rim of the coffee cup which has faded which means that the user is slowly taking in the lead-rich paint. On inspecting the other china the doctor found the same condition.

Lead is generally used to fix many kinds of paints. For years lead is mixed with gasoline to improve combustion and reduce engine knock. Today the use of lead is strictly regulated all over the world. Look for the lead-free label when buying paints for school use or as house paint. Use only unleaded gasoline. And fix that crumbling wall paint.

Mass lead poisoning stakes the cities.

As people move from the countryside to live in cities, among the risks they encounter is lead poisoning. Our old folks seldom suffered from this malady because they were living in a more pristine environment, and technology then was not as developed as it is today.

The first case of mass lead poisoning occurred among the Romans started coating their cups and vessels, which were made of bronze, with lead. Mysterious illnesses and deaths due lead poisoning never occurred to them for a long time.

Today it is estimated that over 400,000 children in the US have an excess of lead in their systems. This cumulative poisoning affects the brain, the nervous system, the blood, and the abdominal system characterized by severe stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, weakness and confusion combined with decreased alertness. Lead in the bone marrow interferes with the formation of red blood cells as well as damaging existing ones leading to anemia, pallor and weakness, and to a severe extent, delirium, coma and even death.

Lead poisoning is associated with the Good Life.

Avoid the following to get rid or at least minimize intake of lead.
• Automobile exhaust fumes
• Industrial wastes and air pollutants
• Paint of toys, walls, and windowsill
• Eating food or liquor prepared in lead containers
• Prolonged job contact with lead paints, batteries, solder.
• Eating food tainted with lead passed on through the food chain. Kangkong (Ipomea aquatica) has high lead residue. Fish liver contains lead more than any part of its body.

Living with Folk Wisdom, UST-AVR

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