Lead Exposure Kills 10 Times More People In The US Than Previously Thought

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A new study reveals that lead exposure is a much more deadly killer in the United States than previously thought. The findings revealed that almost 412,000 people in the country die from lead contamination every year.  ( Saeed Khan | AFP/Getty Images )

Lead exposure is a much more deadly killer in the United States than previously thought, according to new research published in the Lancet Public Health journal.

The number of people in the United States killed in lead contamination every year is alarmingly 10 times higher compared to the figures provided by the University of Washington's Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation.

Lead Exposure Kills Over 400,000 People In US Every Year

According to findings of the new study, almost 412,000 people in the United States die every year due to lead contamination.

The study, which tracked over 14,000 adults over a 20-year period, discovered that for people who initially had concentrations of lead in their blood at the 90th percentile, all-cause mortality increased by 37 percent and cardiovascular disease mortality increased by 70 percent compared to people with concentrations of lead in their blood at the 10th percentile.

This means that out of the 412,000 victims of lead exposure every year, 256,000 people succumb to cardiovascular disease. The relationship between lead exposure and cardiovascular disease has been known for decades, but the magnitude of the correlation may finally draw attention to initiatives that will prevent instances of lead poisoning.

Protection From Lead Exposure

People may be exposed to lead through a variety of things in the household such as paint and dust. Lead may also come from food and water, the environment, and even from industrial jobs.

To protect your family from lead exposure, one of the first things that you can do is to have your own home investigated and possibly repaired. Homes built before 1978 may have used lead paint, while those constructed before 1986 may have water pipes that contain lead.

Parents are also advised to be vigilant against lead poisoning by having their children tested for lead in their blood at a young age and by following lead-related recalls for products such as toys.

Lead Poisoning In Children

Children are more susceptible to the negative health effects of lead exposure, which may result in behavior problems, delayed development, speech and hearing problems, and IQ deficits. Placing this in the spotlight was the Flint, Michigan, scandal, which caused lead poisoning among children for drinking contaminated water.

Unfortunately, according to a study published in April 2017, one-third of lead poisoning among children in the United States go undiagnosed, which is why constant monitoring and blood tests for children are so important. One example is from September 2017, when it was reported that a homeopathic teething bracelet caused lead poisoning in a nine-month-old baby.

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