Toxicity and The Risks of Environmental Lead Exposure

Lead is a naturally occurring element and does not break down. This means that lead will change chemically over time which influences its exposure but it will still be recognizable as lead. Lead used hundreds of years ago is still potentially available as a toxic chemical. Current regulations published by the USEPA are not eliminating all of the potential exposures to lead. Lead waste piles from mines and smelters dating back to the late 1800’s have been found to still present a lead exposure hazard. Lead-containing water service lines can be found in large older cities and water passing through the lines can present hazards to residents. Lead is still present in air from open combustion. Lead-based paint although now eliminated from use still has presents problems, especially for young children. Renovation work for remediation of lead-based paint must be done using the regulatory requirements of the EPA otherwise residential exposure to lead dust can result. Lead can be present in foods. All of these sources contribute to the total body burden.

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