Surely you’ve heard the expression “Get the lead out.” Well, that’s not a bad idea. Lead is a poisonous element that targets protoplasm, the living substance inside your body’s cells. Lead has a particular affinity for the cells of the nervous system, including the brain, spinal cord, and peripheral nervous tissue. It can even infiltrate bone, weakening skeletal structure. Lead exposure can increase blood pressure and cause fertility problems, nerve disorders, muscle and joint pain, irritability, and memory or concentration problems.
Lead toxicity can contribute to a wide array of symptoms and conditions, including, but limited to:
- Cirrhosis of the liver, hair loss, birth defects, heart problems, thyroid dysfunction, and kidney disease
- Frequent colds and infections of all types
- Muscle weakness and muscle pain
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, abdominal pain, loss of appetite, and weight loss
- Seizures, learning disabilities, headaches, tremors, dizziness, depression, fatigue, malaise, nervousness, disorientation, hyperactivity in children, nerve damage to hands and feet, loss of sight, and mental retardation
By far the greatest source of concern is lead paint found in much of our nation’s older housing and the fact that young children often inhale or make oral contact with surfaces painted with it. Until 1978, lead paint was commonly used in construction. Today, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) estimates that about 38 million homes in the United States still contain some lead paint.
Generally, adults develop lead poisoning as the result of an occupational exposure or hobby. Occupations related to house painting, welding, renovation and remodeling, and the manufacture and disposal of ammunition and car batteries carry a particularly high risk of lead exposure. Workers in these occupations must also take care not to leave their work site with lead-contaminated clothing, tools, and facial hair, or with unwashed hands, lest they spread the lead to their vehicles and ultimately to friends and family members. Lead is a dangerous source of Chronic Stress.
Common sources of lead exposure include:
- Body powders
- Candle wicks
- Henna (hair and skin dye)
- Imported canned food
- Paint chips and dust
- Tap water (contaminated by soldered joints on copper pipes)