Friday, August 30, 2019

More than poisoning; lead leads to increase risk of Parkinson's Disease and ALS

It's been commonly known that lead exposure, especially in children, can lead to a decrease in overall IQ and learning potential. On top of the mental impacts, increased lead exposure can decrease a child's growth spurt and make them shorter than they are projected to be. That has been the common theme from lead exposure activists, to promote these two crucial effects of lead poisoning.

However, a recent study has crossed the age gap. Exposure to lead, at any age, has been linked to a 50% increase in a person's risk of developing Parkinson's Disease and ALS. This study, published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, looked at and compared multiple different studies that looked at the connection between lead and patients diagnosed with these diseases. The researchers also broke down the data and summarized the increase in patient diagnoses based on the reported numbers by physicians across the United States. This is what is called a meta-analysis, and is a common scientific tool used to find general trends in an overall population.

Meta-analysis looks at published data, and those are the numbers the researchers used when writing up their conclusions. Since this is the case, the authors call for more studies to find this increased risk of Parkinson's Disease and ALS from lead exposure in unpublished data to confirm their findings. This could confirm these findings, and potentially even increase the percentage risk.

New studies constantly come out linking exposure to lead to an increased risk of all kinds of diseases and health problems. Lead exposure is a public health crisis that demands constant attention from all different professional spheres. From the media who expose the issues to the public, onto the scholars that conduct the research to find solutions and put facts behind the observations. This study is one of many articles focused on addressing the growing but fixable problem of lead exposure in modern society. 

For more information on this study, here is the link:

Monday, August 5, 2019

The Hard Numbers; Cleaning Up America's Lead Crisis

Hard Numbers; It Pays to Keep Lead Away

Why is it so expensive to clean up the lead contamination crisis in America? A recent report was published by a cabinet-level task force said it would cost $25 billion for 10 years to clean up all the lead in America's paint. It would cost up to $50 billion to clean up the lead pipes across the country. Soil contamination costs reach $10 billion for 10 years of work, but no one truly knows where exactly the contamination is so it could be more. 

For more stats, click here: (move this to the bottom)What we do know is that hundreds of billions of dollars need to be spent to clean up all of the lead found in the paint and pipes around the nation. Billions more needs to be spent on cleaning up the contaminated soil that occurred from the lead-filled gasoline that has seeped into the soil decades earlier.

However investing in the cleanup of lead payoff in the long-term. Lead poisoning contributes to healthcare bills, increased crime rates, special education costs and reduced earnings over a life time.  Lead poisoning has also been linked to higher rates of teen pregnancy; reckless drinking and a decrease in children test scores in primary and secondary school.

This all may seem impossible and too expensive, but our children are our future and it is more cost effective and just, to make the investments we need to make to keep our kids safe and healthy.

Elevated Lead Levels Found in Rubber on Playground Equipment

Mulch Mania; Lead in Children’s Public Playground Surfaces

A recent Harvard study discovered that 28 playgrounds around Boston may be exposing children to unsafe levels of lead. The researchers also looked at the soil around the rubber surface and found high levels of lead in the surrounding mulch and sand.

Each playground tested had two forms of surface material; soil and rubber. On average the team found 66 micrograms of lead per gram of soil and 22 micrograms per gram of rubber. One soil sample "exceeded the 400-microgram limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency for play areas" and "nine playgrounds had a soil sample greater than 80 micrograms of lead per gram" of surface material. The team collected 85 samples

Rubber surfaces on playgrounds have been used in recent years to prevent injury. The mulch is seen as a way to use scrap tires and increase recycling rates.  Rubber mulch is also washable and sanitation is a selling point as well.  But this new research raising concerns about rubber mulch needs to be taken seriously. 

Families need to learn more about the potential risks of rubber mulch to their children and more studies need to be done to help validate these results in other communities.  Both public and residential spaces could have exposure to rubber mulch so the scope of the concern could be large.  Most importantly, we need to start holding our businesses and manufacturers accountable to know the risk of their products and not put families in harm’s way.  

For the CLPPP 2016 report: