A Surprising Source of Lead Poisoning: India’s Idols
By Thuppil Venkatesh, http://blogs.wsj.com/
Lead is ubiquitous in modern day life in India.
A serious threat to health, the metal can be found in the paint on idols and some yellow school buses as well as in battery backups packs and cheap toys. A large proportion of the paints manufactured in India are lead-based.
The annual immersion of painted idols in rivers and lakes across the country raises lead levels of the water and certain types of piping can add lead to the tap water. Even some traditional medicines contain the toxic heavy metal.
When electronics are discarded recklessly, lead can seep into the soil and contaminate ground water in residential areas.
But lead poisoning, particularly among children during growth and development, is preventable.
India only outlawed leaded petrol in March 2000 and since then, the country has moved a little way toward protecting its citizens from exposure to the metal.
Before blood-lead level testing facilities were introduced, many poisoning cases were missed. Now at least, the problem can be identified. Read more