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EPA/L. Koula
A man melts lead metalic wastes use in the production of cooking pots, at a recycling warehouse in Koumassi, Abidjan, Ivory Coast
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Lead poisoning and health

23 August 2019

Key facts

  • Lead is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems and is particularly harmful to young children.
  • Lead in the body is distributed to the brain, liver, kidney and bones. It is stored in the teeth and bones, where it accumulates over time. Human exposure is usually assessed through the measurement of lead in blood.
  • Lead in bone is released into blood during pregnancy and becomes a source of exposure to the developing fetus.
  • There is no level of exposure to lead that is known to be without harmful effects.
  • Lead exposure is preventable.

Nairobi: United Nations Environment Programme; 2019.
(2) Global Health Observatory: Regulations and controls on lead paint.
Geneva: World Health Organization; 2019
(3) 
Seattle, WA: IHME, University of Washington; 2017. 
(4)

 
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