Have you ever heard of using bottled water to shower? Sounds ridiculous right, but the people of Flint, Michigan need to do this to save their lives. The city of Flint switched their water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River in April 2014. The river was later discovered to be contaminated. Since the changeover, scientists have linked the high lead levels in children’s blood to the contaminated water. This is a serious problem.
Lead is a highly toxic substance that permanently affects humans’ brains by killing nerve cells. Not only does lead harm kids’ brain processes, it also may cause various future mental diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease and Schizophrenia. Throughout U.S. history, people have been exposed to lead poisoning through basic everyday mediums, such as paint, water (from lead-contaminated water pipes), and dust. Children who eat paint chips or lick their fingers after coming in contact with products that have a lead component are poisoning themselves. The lead enters into the bloodstream and travels throughout the body, stealthily making itself at home, poisoning the body.
So how does lead poisoning work? Basically, lead disguises itself as zinc. Zinc is needed to anchor proteins that switch genes on and off. When zinc is replaced with lead, the switches cannot function properly, eventually leading to mental diseases.
Scientists have been researching the possibility that lead is transferable in DNA to offspring. This could be devastating to a population of a town like Flint, Michigan, where the mothers who have lead poisoning could pass this on to their babies. The worst part is that there is no cure for lead poisoning.
Because of the devastating effects of lead in bloodstream, governments have debated the topic of legalizing contaminated water as a bioweapon, using lead as the contaminant. Governments in the past have used poisoned water as an assassination method, proving the effectiveness of this strategy.
Preventing lead exposure and poisoning is critical for children’s health and for future generations.
For more info on the biowarfare, click here.
This is a very concerning situation that is adversely affecting a large number of people. Very interesting article, reporting on the situation and speaking to the different consequences that the crisis has had or could have on people. More specifically you speak to the genetic and physiological implications of lead poisoning. The National Institute of Health (NIH) has a very informative article that further explains some of your points discussed. The article references the prefrontal cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and cerebellum as notable areas affected by the ion. Additionally, the ion affects enzymatic reactions! The article (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2858639/) is a long read but the abstract and introduction provide many supplemental facts to accompany your post on such a concerning topic.