Lead Testing: Why and How?
Apparently, Lead is omnipresent – from natural deposits to agricultural soils, from vehicle emission to tap water, from household paints to children toys and what not. Thanks to the era of industrial revolution, this soft, heavy, and malleable, not to mention – toxic, metallic element has become a part and parcel of many commonly used commodities.
In recent years, number of automobiles has increased tremendously and so has the air pollution. With this, levels of various heavy metals in the air, water and soil have touched a real high & lead levels are certainly no exception! As a result, the risk of lead-borne disorders has increased tremendously over the years. So, dear shellfish-lovers, mussels are not just a good source of proteins, they may also supplement you with life taking metals like lead!
Lead has long been recognized as a harmful environmental pollutant which can lead to a variety of adverse health effects in humans in a dose and time dependent manner & chronic cases of heavy metal lead contamination may result in cardiovascular and renal complications. In many parts of the world, including a large part of America and Europe, lead’s unscrupulous use goes grossly ungoverned. Manifestly, hospitals are registering an ever increasing number of patients ailing from lead-induced disorders! No wonder that its alarming levels have starting revealing its filthy faces and various organizations have come up with a range of tests for lead detection and quantization in one’s body and surroundings.
Blood/Tissue Lead Testing:
There are several laboratory techniques that can diagnose & quantitatively determine the presence of lead in body tissues & fluids. Various types of samples like urine, hair, blood serum etc. can be used forlead testingpurposes. Often, lead poisoning is screened & confirmed by venipuncture or capillary based sampling and further evaluation of total lead levels. The basic principles of urine test, hair test and blood tests can be applied to evaluate the level of lead in the body in order to identify any potential toxicity. One of the easiest screening methods is the hair based testing. Testing protocols may also include the use of chelating drugs along with a periodic urine or blood collection to quantitate lead levels. The recommended upper limits of blood lead levels called Elevated Blood Lead (EBL) Levels are around 10mg/dl or 250-1000ppm. Over a period of time, such tests can be used to monitor the changes in the blood lead levels and epidemiological studies can be conducted to identify geographical areas of high lead exposure.
Environmental Lead Testing:
In the identified geographical areas, sampling of natural assets like air, water and soil should be done periodically to assess and monitor lead contamination. Further, you can also get your household dust, tap water and garden soil tested for lead contamination from any of the certified agencies.
Lead often enters our food chain either by inhalation or ingestion or lesser frequently, by skin absorption. Lead poisoning is a major cause of hormonal imbalances, mental problems, concentration deficits, developmental delays and many other diseases. With proper & timely identification of environmental contamination of such metals and onset of contamination associated diseases, various precautionary measures can be taken to avoid further exposure and future contamination.