Length: 558 words (1.6 double-spaced pages)
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Lead has the atomic symbol of Pb (for plumbum, lead in Latin). The atomic number for lead is 82 and the atomic mass is 207.19 AMU. It melts at about 327.502 °C and boils at 1740 °C. Lead is a heavy, ductile, soft, gray solid. It is soluble in nitric acid and insoluble in water. It is found in North, Central and South America, Australia, Africa and Europe (Heiserman 686).
"It generally occurs in nature in the form of ores and was recovered in early times as a by-product in the smelting of silver. Once lead is mined, processed and introduced into man's environment, it is a potential problem forever." Lead has been mined, smelted and compounded for thousands of years. It even has been found in the Egyptian tombs.
Its versatility, as well as its physical and chemical properties, accounted for its extensive use. Lead can be rolled into sheets which can be made into rods and pipes. It can also be molded into containers and mixed with other metallic elements.
Mini blinds are a prime source of lead poisoning. The greatest risk of injury from lead poisoning is to children under the age of seven. The kinds of injuries lead poisoning can cause are learning disabilities, brain damage, organ failure, death and many more. Studies have shown that lead poisoned children are more likely to drop out of high school and to live a life of unemployment. HUD estimates that 75% of the houses built in the United States before 1978 contain some lead-based paint. It is universally accepted that the most common cause of lead poisoning in children is deteriorated (chipping and peeling) lead-based paint on the exterior and interior of houses.
Lead poisoning doesn't only occur in children, but adults too. Adults can get it from leaded soldering fumes, lead tainted soil or heroin. It takes more lead to poison adults than children because an adult's body has formed and is prepared for such things unlike children who are still growing. Some common symptoms of lead poisoning in adults are fatigue, depression, heart failure and high blood pressure.
There are myths about lead that many people believe are true.
One myth says that a single paint chip causes lead poisoning. This is false. Lead poisoning develops after repeated exposures to substances containing small amounts of lead. Another myth is that pencil lead causes lead poisoning. This is also false. Pencil "leads" are now made of graphite that contains no lead.
To prevent anyone from getting lead into their bodies, they could have their house checked out by a qualified inspector. Also, several lead tester kits are available in supermarkets or from government agencies. Children could prevent lead poisoning by keeping objects of any sort from getting in their mouths. It should also be the parents responsibility to make sure their children receive a blood test at each periodic check-up until the age of seven.
Heiserman, David L. Exploring Chemical Elements and their Compounds. USA: TAB Books, 1992.
"Lead Information." Internet. Netscape 2.0.
"Lead Paint Poisoning of Children." Internet. Netscape 2.0: http://www.civilrights.com/leadpaint.html
"The UCD-PCC Answer Book - Lead Poisoning." Internet. Netscape 2.0: http://edison.ucdmc.ucdavis.edu/poison_control/leadpois.html
Justin Day is the author of this essay. Please give him credit if you use this essay as a source.