Fact Sheet: One in every Three Child are Poisoned by Lead: UNICEF Report

United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in a recent report which is first of its kind published impact of lead on children’s health across the world. As per the recent report one in every three children is being poisoned by lead.

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What does the report say?

World’s one-third child population which is nearly around 800 million are affected by lead poisoning. Among the total affected nearly half of them are from South Asia. India accounts for nearly 275,561,163 of these cases.

Children, when exposed to lead, gets highly affected. Severe problems like mental health and behavioural problems, including an increase in crime and violence, can be seen in them.

What harm does it make?

Lead is a potent neurotoxin which harms the brains of small children irreparably even before they are allowed a chance to develop. This severe harm can lead to lifelong cognitive, neurological and physical impairment.

When compared to other normal children who did not have such elevated levels of lead in their blood the affected children with blood levels of five µg / dL, were found to score three to five points lower IQ points.

According to a meta-analysis, lead levels in the blood of Indian children showed they could lose four IQ (intelligence quotient) points each because of lead exposure. Kidney damage and cardiovascular diseases were also found predominantly among older children exposed to lead.

Who is more prone to it?

Mainly children from lower economic country and strata work in the factories where the recycle of lead is done. Also, parents who work in such factories often bring contaminated dust home on their hair, cloth, hands, shoes thus unknowingly exposing their child to the deadly toxic element. However, the president of Pure Earth in an interview said that the lead can be recycled safely without exposing workers.

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