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Lead - nutritional considerations
Alternative namesNutritional considerations to reduce the risk of lead poisoning .
FunctionLead is a natural element with thousands of uses. Because it is widespread (and often hidden) lead can easily contaminate food and water where it is undetectable to the eye or taste.
Food SourcesFood sources include hidden sources such as tap water (lead pipes, or lead solder used to hold pipes together, is fairly common in older plumbing), canned goods (if there is lead solder in the cans), and other "container related" exposures. (See cooking utensils and nutrition ).
Paint is still the greatest danger for exposure to lead, especially in children. If you live in a home painted before the ban on lead in paint (1978) or plumbing (1988) took effect, call your local health department to find out how to get your paint tested or your water checked for lead content.
Side EffectsHigh doses of lead can damage the nervous system, kidneys, and blood system and can even be lethal. Continuous low-level exposure causes lead to accumulate in the body and cause damage. It is particularly dangerous for babies, before and after birth, and for small children because their bodies and brains are growing rapidly.
Many federal agencies study and monitor lead exposure. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors lead in food, beverages, food containers, and tableware. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors lead levels in drinking water.
Blood lead levels in Americans have been dropping steadily because of measures that have been taken in the U.S., including:
RecommendationsTo reduce your exposure to lead:
Update Date: 4/30/2003Todd Severson, M.D., Department of Emergency Medicine, University of Pennsylvania Medical Center, Philadelphia, PA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.
Last updated: Tue, 06 Jan 2009 00:20:03 GMT