Presence and exposure to heavy metals to the children and adult may lead to health problems.

Presence and exposure to heavy metals to the children and adult may lead to health problems.

Overall population and specifically people living in urban areas are more at risk due to the presence of traces of Lead, Arsenic, Mercury, chromium and other heavy metals

By Mahmood Hussain, Sunday 18th March 2018, write articles and blogs to be published in BABY FIRST PAKISTAN, Facebook/babyfirstPakistan and other social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter and so on. The writer is from Karachi, Pakistan Currently he is in Philadelphia, USA.

Reports are regularly published on this subject, stating the presence of traces of heavy metals in Pakistan. They are polluting the environment. Its elevated level is bad for the health of the public and especially children are more likely to be affected.

These trace elements are lead, arsenic, mercury, cadmium, chromium. nickel and other element of heavy metals. Pakistan is not only affected, this is also polluting to its other neighboring countries.

On Saturday 10th March 2018 at Philadelphia USA we took our 14month old granddaughter to St Christopher Children Hospital for vaccination and regular/routine checkup. The pediatrician thoroughly checked the baby and she informed baby is perfectly normal and growing according to her age. During the checkup, the consultant asked to have blood test specially to check lead levels in the blood. She also asked how old is your house, what about paint scratching from the wall or presence of mud or accessible area where the baby is playing. Normally she briefed us its importance and said babies do touch the wall with hand, scratch paint from the wall or play in the mud where lead may be present. I thanked her and informed her I do write regularly health articles. Till now I have more than 130 articles on our website and with her permission, I will write an article on lead poisoning and its effect on health. She informed Philadelphia is affected by lead pollution. Lot of reports and research publication has been published on this issue. Few of its will be mentioned below:

“In booming Philadelphia and its neighborhoods, the lead-poisoned soil is resurfacing”.

Published in the daily Sunday, June 18, 2017, it mentioned a toxic city, Tainted Soil. In a report, it is mentioned a mother of three children was enjoying and excited with urban revival and renaissance, along with it a sad reality was attach, and her one daughter was poisoned with lead. Normally it is assumed this lead poisoning can be due to paint or tap water but in this case, the culprit was soil which was present in her backyard. The presence of lead in the soil has poisoned her daughter.

While checking my granddaughter the pediatrician advice and highlighted very important point, the toddler quantity of milk should be confined to 16-24 ounce per day in three to four divided feed.  If baby drinks more milk that can cause anemia, the reason assigned by her is milk is low in iron as compared to other solid food which they need to take every day. If they fill their stomach with more milk which means they lose their appetite for other foods, which contains more iron. It has been observed milk interfere with iron absorption.  Iron is very much needed and responsible for maintaining hemoglobin level in the blood.

It is an important aspect of child development and I will write a separate article in which highlight how much milk given to the toddler.

The toddler is refers to the child age between 12 to 36 months. During these years it is time of great cognitive, emotional and social development in the children.

As per advice issued by CDC which states the people of public health and child specialist needs to be alerted when the child has lead level of 5 or more in the blood. At this level children loses on an average of their 6 IQ points. This has been observed even with the lower level of lead in the blood children display increase impulsivity (tendency to act on a whim, displaying behavior characterized by little or no forethought, reflection, or consideration of the consequences).

It is observed, the child is aggressive and hyperactive along with diminished academic and learning abilities.

If the lead content is found higher in Adults, expert says even at the lower level this may result in loss of memory, depression and later may affect the vital organs such as heart, brain, kidney and reproductive functions.

Find very brief and many reports and articles published within Pakistan, regard to the presence of rare or traces of heavy metals which results in environmental pollution. This affects the health of the inhabitants living within the affected vicinity These are especially in reference lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium, cadmium, and nickel. Listing few of the published report for further reading:

  • Pollution Status of Pakistan: A Retrospective Review on Heavy Metal. By A Waseem 03 September 2014
  • 50 million at risk of arsenic poisoning in Pakistan. Daily DAWN 24th August 2017.
  • Arsenic in drinking water threatens up to 60 million people in Pakistan, 23rd August 2017
  • Cadmium, lead, arsenic and mercury in vegetables of Sindh, Pakistan By M Abbas in 2010
  • Heavy metal contamination in water bodies in Pakistan. Daily PakObserver.

The heavy metals are needed for life, but in a low quantity by all living beings for the growth and development. These are referred as trace elements, micro-elements or micro-nutrients. These are listed as vitamins and minerals. These trace elements play significant role in metabolic, biological, enzymatic and catabolic action which is essential for all living i.e. plants, animals and human being. They are used in combination and in mix quantity of micro and macronutrients. These elements are present in people, food and in the environment at ppt levels, if these levels exceed from their normal range than it is harmful and leads to certain harmful and long life ill effects.

Within Pakistan during past few years analysis was done to evaluate the presence of heavy metal in various areas.  The objective was to assess the contamination level of water within the ground, surface, running and wastewater. They assess the traces of heavy metals such as lead, mercury, arsenic, chromium, cadmium and nickel. These are the environmental pollutants specifically regarding high anthropogenic pressure area.

If water contains traces of heavy metals, it may cause the serious threat to living things.

If we consider renal failure it is due to using of contaminated drinking water containing lead and cadmium.

Liver cirrhosis can be due to the presence of copper and molybdenum.  Severe anemia may be due to copper and cadmium.

Loss of hair due to the presence of nickel and chromium in water.

The real source of trace elements is in rocks. It is the source of the concentrated trace element. So is the case they are spread and concentrated later in water, soil and atmosphere. The presence of trace elements is taken up by plants and these are also ingested by people and animals.

Water is normally contaminated and just to say pure water do not exist in nature. To look at the level of contamination of water this is directly related environmental pollution.

Sign and symptoms of heavy metal poisoning.

These symptoms are very common, and it is difficult to recognize this toxicity which has arises due to heavy metals.

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting and nausea
  • Stomachache
  • Anemia
  • Dysfunction of a central nervous system.
  • Cardiac problem

There are two types of metal present in the human being.  These are referred as nutrient and toxic metals. Toxic metal should not be there or in very rare quantity.

Nutrient metals are essential and needed for healthy living. The important nutrient materials are potassium, calcium, copper, manganese, zinc, selenium and molybdenum.

Common toxic metals are mercury, arsenic, lead, cadmium, antimony, aluminum and more. It is vital to understand the level of both metals for obvious scientific reasons.  Number one point is to know toxic metals often contest with nutrient metals.

Sometimes we, our self or physician get away with the raised level of toxic metal in body by increasing the nutrient metals via supplement.

Article written by Mahmood Hussain for Baby First Pakistan website, Facebook, twitter, LinkedIn and other popular social media


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