Lead exposure in children and prevention measure
Lead is an environmental toxic substance resulting in intellectual disability in children. The World Health Organization (WHO) has classified mental retardation due to lead exposure as one of the most severe diseases due to its permanent impact on children's health. In addition, lead also causes toxicity in mutiorgan systems. Children can be exposed to lead from the environment and lead contaminated products via ingestion or inhalation. However, there are no safety levels of lead exposure. Chronic lead exposure, even at low levels, may result in long term health effects. Moreover, it is also difficult to detect initial toxicity symptoms and signs. Blood lead levels analysis is a control measure used to monitor lead poisoning. There have been reports of blood lead detection of children in many countries, especially in high risk areas. In Thailand, after taking legal measures to abolish the use of lead-containing gasoline, the blood lead levels among children tends to gradually decrease. Nevertheless, there are several reports of blood lead levels higher than the reference level, especially among children living in the vicinity of industrial areas, fishing and mining communities. Moreover, there are insufficient lead exposure monitoring data available in other areas and additional preventive measures are still limited while all children have remained at risk for lead exposure. this article aims to present the potential sources of lead exposure, factors contributing to lead exposure, lead exposure problems in children, recommendations for lead preventive measures, and the economic value of defining appropriate preventive measures.
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