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Lead poisoning

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Lead poisoning is an intoxication of the system by organic compounds containing lead. These enter the body by respiration (of dust, fumes, or sprays) or by ingestion of food or other substances that contain lead. Water is rarely an important source of lead exposure except where lead pipes, for instance in old buildings, are common. Removal of old pipes is costly but the most effective measure to reduce lead exposure from water.

The symptoms of lead poisoning include reduced IQ, rashes, irritability, insomnia, excess lethargy or hyperactivity, poor appetite, headache. In high amounts it can result in abdominal discomfort, nervous system damage, and encephalitis. At very high levels, lead can cause convulsions, coma and death. Chronic exposure is characterized by a blue line on the gums and can lead to damage to the brain, kidneys, nervous system, and red blood cells.

The WHO guideline for lead in drinking water is 0.1 mg/l.

Click here to learn for more information about waterborne diseases, dimension of the problem, transmission, prevention.

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Sources:
http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/diseases/lead/en/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lead_poisoning
Picture:
http://images.google.com/images?hl=en&rls=GGLD,GGLD:2005-12,GGLD:en&q=lead+poisoning&spell=1

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