Lead Contamination Overtakes Smoking as the Primary Contributor to Heart Disease

Recent studies indicate lead-contaminated water is causing more heart disease deaths than smoking.

This alarming fact has been brought to light by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), a pressure group that has been tracking populations served by drinking water with high levels of lead contamination.

Florida, according to separate research, has the highest concentration of lead piping. A service line, which is a pipe connecting a home to the water mains, is present in every house. The study shows Florida has the most lead water pipes in the nation, followed by Illinois and Ohio.

Heart disease is a global health crisis, claiming an estimated 8.9 million lives in 2019 alone. In the United States, it is the leading cause of death, responsible for approximately 695,000 deaths per year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Lead, a highly toxic heavy metal, can accumulate in the body over time, leading to a range of heart problems. Even low exposure to this material can lead to brain damage and learning disabilities in children.

In babies and small children, it can also cause damage to the brain and central nervous system, leading to language and speech problems and developmental delays.

The Biden administration unveiled a fund of $45 billion to tackle the problem. However, the heavy metal continues to leach into drinking water from pipes made out of the heavy metal that is still in use in many countries, including the US.

Lead causes heart disease by triggering high blood pressure. As the heavy metal builds up in the body, it causes blood vessels to constrict, reducing the amount of space blood has to flow through.

It can also damage the kidneys, which can reduce blood pressure by filtering water and nutrients out of the bloodstream. Lead is also known to cause arrhythmias, or an abnormal heartbeat, by interfering with nerves.

A study published in Lancet Planetary Health used a model that took into account other impacts lead has on the heart — such as arrhythmias. The results showed ninety percent of deaths linked to lead exposure were in developing countries.

Researchers at the World Bank used a similar model, taking into account the level of lead in the blood of thousands of people worldwide to estimate the number of fatalities.

They found that 5.5 million heart disease deaths were linked to lead every year, surpassing the number of deaths caused by smoking or obesity.

This revelation serves as a wake-up call for the world to take action over lead exposure. It’s time we address this silent killer lurking in our tap water.

This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.

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Written by Western Reader

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