Everyone is essentially at risk!
Children ages 6 and under are at the greatest risk. Pregnant women and nursing mothers should avoid exposure to lead to protect their children.
Your child is also at risk if;
- · Your home or a home that your child spends a lot of time in was built before lead paint was banned in 1978.
- · Renovation work is being done in such a home.
- · The adults in the home work with lead.
Lead In Galway water
Lead is rarely found in source water, but enters tap water through corrosion of plumbing materials. Homes built before the 1970s are more likely to have lead pipes, fixtures and solder. The areas that have been highlighted for concern are Mervue, the Claddagh, Shantalla, Bohermore and Father Griffen Road. New homes are also be at risk as even legally “lead-free” plumbing may contain up to 8 percent lead. The most common problem is with brass or chrome-plated brass faucets and fixtures, which can leach significant amounts of lead into the water, especially hot water, hence the warning from our officials not to drink water from the hot taps.
Lead Poisoning and our Babies
Lead in drinking water can cause a variety of adverse health effects. In babies and children, exposure to lead in drinking water result in delays in physical and mental development, learning difficulties and decreased attention span. This can manifest in everything from, the autism spectrum (autism is a complicated multi-factorial disease of which the causes are numerous however, heavy metal poisoning is certainly implicated), to attention deficit disorder (ADD), dyslexia or general low IQ.
Lead Poisoning In Adults
In adults, lead poisoning can cause increases in blood pressure. Adults who drink contaminated water over many years can eventually develop kidney disease as a result of high blood pressure. Long-term exposure to lead levels above the U.S. EPA drinking water Action Level may cause stroke, kidney failure, and cancer.
How Does Lead Get Into my Water?
Lead enters the water (“leaches”) through contact with the plumbing.
Lead leaches into water through;
· Corrosion* of
· Fixtures and Faucets (brass)
The amount of lead in your water also depends on the types and amounts of minerals in the water, how long the water stays in the pipes, the amount of wear in the pipes, the water’s acidity and its temperature.
What should I do if I suspect that my water contains high lead levels?
If you want to know if your home’s drinking water contains unsafe levels of lead, have your water tested. Testing is the only way to confirm if lead is present or absent.
Should I test my children for exposure to lead?
Children at risk of exposure to lead should be tested.
Your doctor or local health centre can perform a simple blood test to determine your child’s blood-lead level.
If your child has a blood lead level at or above 10ug/dl, you should take preventive measures.
Boiling your water will not get rid of lead.
Ideas to Reduce Your Family's Exposure to Lead
Use cold water for drinking or cooking. Never cook or mix infant formula using hot water from the tap.
Make it a practice to run the water at each tap before use. So much for Slow the Flow!
Do not consume water that has sat in your home’s plumbing for more than six hours. First, make sure to run the water until you feel the temperature change before cooking, drinking, or brushing your teeth.
The Carahealth gravity fed water filter removes lead from drinking water. You can be assured, we have results to prove it!
Diet and supplements can help prevent and treat lead poisoning.
Heavy Metal Chelation and Minerals
Chelation therapy is the administration of chelating agents to remove heavy metals from the body. For the most common forms of heavy metal intoxication—those involving lead, arsenic or mercury—the standard of care in dictates the use of dimercaptosuccinic acid (DMSA). Alpha lipoic acid (ALA) is used in nutritional therapy.
Minerals in the Diet and Heavy Metal Chelation
Minerals in the diet prevent heavy metals such as lead from accumulating in the body. Increased absorption of lead has been associated with a calcium-deficient diet and with low iron stores. Other minerals that are antagonisitc towards lead are selenium and zinc.
Basically high lead means low minerals.
Encourage Children to eat foods rich in iron, such as red meat, fish, liver, dried beans, dried figs, eggs and green leafy vegetables. To enhance iron absorption, include a good source of vitamin C, such as citrus fruit, berries, melon, or tomatoes with meals.
Serve children foods high in calcium such as cheese, yoghurt, and tahini and seaweeds like dilsk and carageen.
Selenium rich foods include button mushrooms, shiitake mushrooms, cod, shrimp, snapper, tuna, halibut, calf's liver and salmon Brazil nuts are the richest source of this important mineral.
Calf's liver, mushrooms and spinach are very good sources of zinc. Good sources of zinc include sea vegetables, basil, thyme, spinach, pumpkin seeds, yeast, beef and lamb, asparagus, venison, miso, shrimp, maple syrup, broccoli, peas, yoghurt, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds and mustard greens.
Please see also Carahealth Heavy Metal Detox
Eat breakfast, regular meals and snacks
Providing children with breakfast, regular meals, and healthy snacks prevents lead poisoning as lead absorption is increased after fasting. Encourage nutritious snacks, such as fruits, vegetables, and crackers with thinly spread creamy tahina, cashew nut butter or avacado and goats cheese. Limit the child's intake of junk foods. Remember, if you love them don’t feed them junk!
Read the annual report from the Galway City Council to find out about how they are working to reduce levels of lead in drinking water and other information about your drinking water. Call your councillor directly you have any questions. Lobby the government. Demand clean water!
Carina is available to lecture for your group or institution on this subject.
Carina Harkin BHSc.Nat.BHSc.Hom.BHSc.Acu. is a practitioner of 11 years, complementary medicine lecturer of 4 years and mother of six in Galway, Ireland who practices what she teaches.
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