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Lead (Pb) is a metal toxin that can damage organs and tissues in humans and animals. In the past Romans used lead-made pipes for water transport infrastructure in ancient cities. In modern times, prior to the 1980s when its health hazards became widely known, lead was used in paints, and as an additive in gasoline. Today, although regulated by government agencies, lead continues to be a pollution concern, as it is injected into the atmosphere by smelters, metal processing plants, and incinerators. Information source: U.S. EPA.

Health Implications

Lead is distributed throughout the body in blood and accumulates in bone. Depending on the level of exposure, lead can adversely affect several systems in the body including nervous, immune, reproductive, developmental, and cardiovascular. Lead can also impair kidney function, and reduce the oxygen carrying capacity of blood. Infants and young children are especially sensitive to lead poisoning, the latter which may underpin behavioral problems, learning disabilities, and low IQ. Information source: U.S. EPA.

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Climate Change Institute

An initiative of the Climate Change Institute at the University of Maine.