Children dwelling at places with abundance of toxic waste in Indonesia, India and Philippines may develop high quantities of lead in their blood circulation. This adversely affects their level of intelligence and alleviates their risk of mental retardation.
Researchers from Mount Sinai Medical Center analyzed levels of lead in drinking water and soil at 200 toxic waste locations in 31 nations around the globe. The blood levels were assessed in 779,989 kids who were exposed to toxic lead.
AdvertisementDr. Kevin Chatham-Stevens, MD, a pediatric environmental health fellow with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center in New York, conducted a study for assessing the effects of lead in children living near the toxic waste sites.
The scientists discovered that lead levels in the blood circulation was between 1.5 to 104 micrograms lead per deciliter of blood (µg/dL), with an average of 21 µg/dL in children ages four years and younger.
According to Dr. Chatham-Stephens this high lead range can result in deprivation of five to eight IQ points per child and six out of every 1,000 children can suffer from mental retardation. He mentioned, "The average blood lead level in an American child is approximately 1.3 µg/dL. Our research found an average predicted blood lead level of 21 µg/dL, which is very high."
Chatham-Stephens further added, "Lead has serious, long-term health consequences such as the potential to impair cognitive development in children and cause mental retardation." Mental retardation is termed as having an IQ below 70.
Philip Landrigan, MD, MSc, dean for global health at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, stated, "On a global level, this analysis highlights the importance of assigning more public health resources to identify, evaluate and remediate lead-contaminated toxic waste sites in these countries." According to Dr. Landrigan these nations should adopt stringent steps to harness the detrimental effects of toxic waste in order to safeguard the neurodevelopment in children.
Dr. Chatham-Stephens highlighted the significance of the study by saying, "This study is important because, to our knowledge, the burden of disease from these toxic waste sites has never been calculated before."
The scientists noted that the kids who were potentially exposed to injurious toxic waste in lower and middle income nations are likely to have high percentage of lead in blood levels.