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Half of Americans Were Affected by Lead Poisoning, Some of It Was From Gas

A study that was published earlier this week revealed that half of the U.S. population alive in 2015 was affected by the adverse effects of lead levels encountered in early childhood. The consequences involve a reduced IQ for some of the affected people, not just the already known damage caused by leaded gas in the world.
If you have seen this as a kid, you might have been affected by lead poisoning 6 photos
Display of fuel pump in the UKPerson refilling fuel tank with dieselFuel pumps at refueling stationPerson refilling gas tank with "Super" gasoline, a type of Premium gasPump working to extract crude oil
Since leaded gas was phased out and banned in the U.S. many years ago, the affected people were born between 1951 and 1980. Estimates show a total loss of 824,097,690 IQ points for those born in the U.S. between those years. The study was published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, and it attempted to quantify the level of brain harm caused by childhood lead exposure in the USA.

However, the study only focused on the lead that was added to gas for automobiles, which the survey makers accounted for, but piston-engined aircraft still use leaded gasoline to this day, so do not feel you are off the hook just yet.

You might want to consider moving if you live near a small airport, or on the approach or flight path of small aircraft. The latter means that there is a landing strip that leads aircraft above your house, and that unusual smell you sometimes feel in the air might be from tetraethyllead added to obtain 100LL aviation fuel. While its name says "Low Lead," it still contains lead. Burning fuel with Lead also generates lead oxide, not just lead.

Analyzing data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, which had information on Blood Lead Levels from 1976 to 2016, researchers have found that only those born since 2001 have considerably lower levels of lead in their blood.

Researchers have divided the results into seven categories, depending on how much lead they had in their bloodstream. The lowest category had less than 4.99 µg/dL of blood, while the most affected category had 30 µg/dL. In case you are not up to speed with lead, it is bad for humans, and you want to stay away from the stuff as much as possible.

In case you were wondering, there is no safe level of lead exposure, so even the smallest quantity is bad for humans. The use of lead also poisons waterways, as well as agricultural fields, so you do not have to live right next to a small airport to be impacted.

Editor's note: For illustration purposes, the photo gallery shows images of fuel pumps, despite the fact that those do not have leaded fuel anymore.


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