By Werner Troesken

The historical past of a long-running environmental disaster chronicles the damaging results of lead pipes and their persisted use regardless of proof that they pose an important healthiness probability.

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Additional resources for The Great Lead Water Pipe Disaster (2006)(en)(318s)

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The Multisystemic Effects of Lead Lead affects multiple systems in the human body, including the central and peripheral nervous systems, the gastrointestinal tract, the kidneys, and the hematological system. Which of these systems is affected and to what degree depends in part on how much lead has been ingested and retained by the body. Children are more vulnerable to lead because their systems absorb more lead than do adult bodies, and because their developing systems are less able to withstand the toxic effects of lead.

1, there is growing evidence that lead exposure is associated with an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. The correlation between lead exposure and cardiovascular disease holds true even for individuals who were exposed to lead as children but not as adults. One study shows that if the mean blood-lead level in the United States could be cut in half, the annual number of myocardial infarctions would fall by about twenty-four thousand, and the incidence of cardiovascular disease would fall by over one hundred thousand.

Because 90 percent of all lead in the human system is stored in the bones, the shock to the system when skeletal lead is mobilized can be significant. In a recent study of one hundred pregnant women in Australia, it was found that mobilization of skeletal lead increased blood-lead levels by an average of 31 percent, and by as much as 65 percent. Even in women with relatively low lead levels, there were large effects. What makes this Australian study particularly important is that it focused on immigrant women, who while in Australia were exposed to little, if any, lead.

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