Lead in Air Pollution

Lead air pollution is a dangerous form of pollution because of the way lead builds up in our bodies. The U.S has done much to reduce lead levels, but there’s much to be done still. Not only are humans at risk for lead poisoning, the result of too much lead in your body, but so are all other animals; fish, wild game and livestock all ingest lead from air, water and plants, and then pass their lead levels on to the humans eating them. It’s time to stop as many sources of lead pollution as possible.

Most people know that lead is a harmful pollutant. Children are very susceptible to the health effects of ingested lead. Lead can be found in water, food, soil and in air pollution. Children aren’t the only ones affected by lead. Lead gets deposited on leaves and grass where animals ingest it, and it builds up in their system. Lead has been a pollutant for many years, but it took while for the dangers that come with it to be fully realized. What is the source of lead air pollution?

The most common source of lead air pollution is from metal processing, but there are other manufacturing and industry sources as well. The highest lead air pollution levels are found near battery manufacturing and iron and other metal producing plants. It’s bad enough that lead has been found in the teeth of the children who live near these kinds of plants. Waste incinerators and mining operations are other sources of lead air pollution. The good news is that lead air pollution levels have been steadily decreasing, especially since lead paint and leaded gas have been discontinued.
Lead air pollution can be caused by the removal of lead-based paint. Lead-based paint was primarily used to paint homes until 1970, but some homes were painted with lead-based paint up until 1978 when it was removed from the market. Older homes are a danger for this reason, especially if you are removing paint by sanding, scraping, or stripping. These methods can release lead into the air, which is why professionals must remove lead-based paint. This paint was used all over the home, including walls, trim, and the outside of the home.
Leaded gas exhaust used to be a major source of lead air pollution, but since it was phased out beginning in 1973, lead emissions have decreased by 98%. January 1, 1996, was the day that the sale of leaded gasoline was banned in the United States for use in on-road vehicles due to the passage of The Clean Air Act. It can be used in other vehicles, though, including marine engines, aircraft, farm equipment, and racing cars until 2008, and then it will be completely banned from being sold in the United States. It is still used in other countries, however, and that impacts air quality around the world.
Some of the health symptoms that are seen from exposure to lead air pollution include nausea, tiredness, headache, anemia, gout, constipation, and abdominal pain, but there are many other symptoms, too. Exposure to babies and children can also result in reduced IQ and learning abilities. The bad thing is that lead can build up in your body, causing severe health problems and even death. Pregnant women who are exposed to high levels of lead are in danger of passing the damage to their unborn children. These symptoms are most commonly seen in people who have prolonged exposure to lead in the air, such as those people who live in the same area as metal processing plants or battery manufacturing plants.
Lead air pollution levels have decreased significantly over the last twenty years, but more still needs to be done to continue this trend. In most areas, lead air pollution is not a huge concern, but in those areas that it is, more precautions need to be taken to help keep the residents safe, especially the children. No manufacturing is worth causing our children harm.

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