6 Apr 2022


Does economic status affect likelihood of lead poisoning in children

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More than 300, 000 children whose age ranges between 1 and 5 years have a total of 10 micrograms of lead particles in every deciliter of blood that was measured. This survey was conducted in children in the US. This goes to show that lead is a problem for most children since they are the most affected part of the population. This level of poisoning has harmful effects when the contaminant starts to manifest. Therefore, it is possible that there are other children whose poisoning level is lower. Unfortunately, the lead poisoning happens without any specific symptoms meaning that it can go unnoticed for a long time. The severity of the problem is that lead poisoning has the ability to affect almost all parts of the body and is responsible for a number of conditions including disabilities, seizures, comas and deaths when the levels are too high. On mild concentrations, it is responsible for certain behavioral disorders and mild learning disabilities (Baghurst, 1999). 

Most parents are unaware of how their children are affected because they assume that their homes are safe. The leading cause of lead poisoning in children is lead paints as well as deteriorating buildings that release lead contaminated dust that children inhale. Even though the use of lead paints was abolished some time back, there are millions of houses with dilapidated buildings that contain contaminated lead dust hence the danger still exists. While 24 million housing units are affected by this effect, more than four million of the said units have a child or children within the premises hence the elevated risk of lead poisoning in children. 

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Apart from the building menace, lead poisoning can also occur through contaminated drinking water, toys, candies and jewelry just to mention a few. The most important thing is to ensure that there are measure put in place to ensure that this is checked. Children under the age of five are the most affected because they tend to put everything they come across in their mouths. While it is possible that all children regardless of social economic background can be affected by lead poisoning, those living below poverty line are more likely to be affected. This could be because they are forced to drink water from old piping systems and live in older homes, which are deteriorating and have a higher chance of having lead contaminated dusts.

As mentioned earlier, older houses are likely to have the lead paintings, which with time deteriorate, and the inhabitants of the homes inhale the dust. The richer families live in modern, environment friendly or green homes where their health and wellness is emphasized. Any financial constraints do not allow a family to choose the house they live in as long as they have a roof over their heads. In the end, the children suffer from lead poisoning and parents get to learn about it sometimes when it is too late (Sloman, 1990).

The economic status of a family is a major consideration with lead exposure in children. In fact, it is considered as one of the most crucial aspects that affect lead exposure and neuro-development in children. The social economic status is likely to modify the toxicity due to the exposure of lead. While the modification is not clear, it is believed that it could be because of other environmental influences as well as genetic and stress levels. The social economic status has contributed majorly to the risk posed to children as far as lead exposure is concerned. The economic power of a family determines the exposure that a child suffers especially when it comes to housing and the neighborhood that you live in.

Economic status also affects the level of lead that some children suffer. As said earlier, families that are not stable financially still want to give their children the best. As such, they may end up settling for substandard items as long as it covers as a substitute and makes their children feel that they belong. One of the most dangerous aspects is the toys that they purchase. It is possible that parents will buy their children toys that are of a lesser quality without considering the consequences of lead exposure. If it were in the case that they were wealthy then chances are that they would be more careful with quality and assurance. In this set up it is easy to see how the economic status can seriously influence the lead exposure levels in children and in turn affect their overall well-being (Braveman, 2005).

People live in older building because they cannot afford the rent or cost of buying new modern houses As such, they have to do with the inadequacies of the buildings that were used in the past years. Any homeowners living in a house that is several decades old especially one that was built before the 1970s is at a high risk of lead contamination. Back then, builders used lead-based paints and building materials because they were readily available and cheaper to use. However, with time, it was discovered that lead has an issue and was the reason why most children were affected. After a period of research and the discovery of the harmful effects of lead, it was done away with and abolished. However, not everybody could afford to move to new improved houses because of economic reasons. As such, they opted for cheaper housing despite the obvious demerits especially to their children’s health.

To add on this, immigration contributes majorly on the high number of lead contaminations in children. This is because in most of the developing countries nit much regulation is put in place as far as building materials is concerned. Chances are that even in the current age there could be people still using lead-paints and other building materials (Verwer, 2007). Builders in this country will go for anything that makes economic sense to them thus affect their children especially if they settle for lead paints and roofing materials with lead. The deterioration of these lead-infused materials causes children to be affected when they inhale the dust that comes from it. When parents adopt children from these areas then there, blood will indicate high levels of lead, which could be dangerous in the long run especially with continuous exposure. This coupled with the children’s stage of compulsive eating could contribute to high level of lead as it gets into their blood stream when they chew on toys made with the same materials.

Apart from the buildings and toys, lead is also found in the environment. It could be in soils especially in areas that are close to industrial areas. The accumulation of lead in such soils could be because it was a major component of gasoline in the early years. This means that most of it could still be trapped within the soil thus impossible to escape. In such scenarios, it is advisable for parents to have their soils tested and qualified by experts to be lead free especially when considering planting some foods such as vegetables. The lead is likely to be trapped in the pants and consumed when cooked. This direct consumption of lead can also very dangerous for children under the age of five. Before buying a house, make sure you get its detailed history especially if it is an old one. The renovations done over the years as a form of maintenance should not fool you. If you realize that as some point lead pain was used then you should reconsider or avoid planting anything that will be consumed. You should also remember that this could be introducing lead dust into your home and as such affect the children that you have. This is the last thing that you need (Hansen, 2007).

Checking the water system is also critical. Your home may be modernized and upgraded thus reducing all traces of lead but the piping system could still be old. Make that the water you consume is safe and healthy. This must be verified through government test and surveys bay experts from the local stations. The government has to set regulations and maintain safety standards. Lead pipes will leak the particles into your drinking water and in the end; it will get into your system through food or drinking. It is even more risky if the old pipes become faulty and leak. Some homeowners ignore the tins they use to store food especially in the refrigerator. Always check the materials used to make these bowls and storage cans. Anything that has lead in it has the potential of leaking into the food. Also, watch out for imported foods, which are sealed with lead. If possible, use local foods and anything that is freshly available to you. The last thing you need is to feed your child with lead when you could have avoided it. Unfortunately, at times, the imported canned foods are cheaper hence; poor families opt for them. 

The economic gap that exists in society could be the reason why lead poisoning is prevalent in certain setups and neighborhoods. Rather than let their children go hungry, the poor and struggling may opt for free or cheaper foods without caring about the impacts of consuming such foods. Even though this is the only option available to you, it is important that you check the ingredients in the can. If any of it contains lead, it is advised to avoid it more so if it meant for the younger children. It is better to prevent this kind of contamination than having to deal with the consequences of being ignorant (Tong, 2007).

Parents should also resist the temptation of buying cheaper jewelry when they can do without. Some of the fake jewelry contains harmful metals such as lead. While you may believe that no harm comes to you because you are a grownup, the same may not apply to children that you live with. Children have a tendency of grabbing anything and putting them in their mouths. Avoiding such jewelry can go a long way in reducing this kind of unnecessary exposure. For parents living near industries that emit lead as a waste or by product it may be time to move. Inasmuch as this is a source of employment, the aftermath of the lead dust is not worth it. You may never have children because they die prematurely or you could end up with challenged children not because of genetic defects but because of avoidable exposure. The government could step in and make rules especially in case of workers. 

Protection against lead exposure is necessary. There could also be rules to prevent parents with young children from living in such neighborhoods. However, it is the responsibility of a parent to protect his or her child. Deliberate lead exposure to your child is unforgivable. Take the necessary precaution regardless of your economic status.


Baghurst, T. ,. (1999). The Port Pirie Cohort Study. Medical Journal of Australia. Sociodemographic and behavioural determinants of blood lead concentrations in children aged 11–13 years. 170: , 63–67.

Braveman, C. ,. (2005). Socioeconomic status in health research: One size does not fit all. Journal of the American Medical Association. , 2879-2888.

Hansen, H. (2007). Enhancement of developmental toxicity effects of chemicals by gestational stress. A review. Neurotoxicology and Teratology , 425–445.

Sloman, B. (1990). Antecedents and correlates of improved cognitive performance in children exposed in utero to low levels of lead. . Environmental Health Perspectives. , 5–11.

Tong, B. :. (2007). Socioeconomic position, maternal IQ, home environment, and cognitive developmen. Journal of Pediatrics. , 284–288.

Verwer, v. d. ( 2007). Effects of housing condition on experimental outcome in a reproduction toxicity study. Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology , 184–193.

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