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Health Effects of Lead

Lead is a toxic heavy metal which can be found in total or respirable suspended particulates. Lead particles from vehicular exhausts which are of a size smaller than 10 micrometres can affect both adults and children, but small children (and foetuses) are at greatest risk because of their smaller size, breathing patterns and the metabolism of lead in their bodies. The effects of lead exposure include damage to the nervous system, red blood cells, kidneys and potential increases in high blood pressure. Other health effects may result in decreased co-ordination and mental abilities. The effects of lead exposure can be treated and reversed, providing treatment is timely and lasts the entire course of therapy. If no treatment is given, permanent brain damage can result.