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Lead poisoning poses a serious threat to children

1 min read
28 September 2022

Children exposed to lead – a metal found in certain paints and batteries—face several problems as they grow up.

A new report by the Bhekisisa Centre for Health Journalism has revealed that only three cases of lead poisoning were reported to the National Institute for Communicable Diseases between 2017 and 2022 because the medical fraternity believes the threat that the metal poses is a thing of the past.

According to a health journalist at Bhekisisa, Jesse Copelyn, who spoke with Radio Islam International, people exposed to lead can encounter many health issues such as heart, lung, and kidney disease. He said lead could also affect the development of children; for instance, people exposed to lead from a younger age are violent and risk being involved in violent crimes.

Copelyn said that recent research done in fishing communities and lying towns had found a high level of lead poisoning. Also, in the year 2000, researchers tested kids in Kimberly, Johannesburg, and Cape Town and found that 74% of those kids had lead poisoning; adding to that, he said researchers have found an enormous portion of the population has lead poisoning.

He appealed to the government to enforce the laws they have set about reducing lead in paint and banning lead petrol.

He added that in 2006 the government barred lead petrol, and in 2009 set the quantity of lead in paint; there are still paint manufacturers that add more than they should and are not prosecuted.

He said the big problem that South Africa is facing is that these laws only apply to the new paint coming in, but there are already walls, homes, playgrounds, and toys covered in paint with excessive lead.

Copelyn said there needs to be a strategy to tackle the lead issue; also, there is an acute need for awareness regarding lead.

[LISTEN] to the podcast here

By Nokwanda Dlangamandla



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