LEAD EXPOSURE / THE PROBLEM
A global health crisis affecting society’s most vulnerable members
Children around the world are exposed to lead daily
Hundreds of millions of children suffer due to lead poisoning.
Due to a lack of awareness of the harm and sources of lead exposure in areas where the risk of contamination is highest, children are unknowingly compromised each day. There are countless sources of lead poisoning – and a main concern is the informal recycling of lead-acid batteries which can also make its way into certain consumer products. In communities across the world – particularly in low- and middle-income countries – lead can be found throughout the environment in which children live: in the air they breathe, the water they drink, the food they eat, and even in the soil they walk and crawl on.
The dangers to developing children
Lifelong impact on health and productivity
How children are exposed
Lead exposure can happen in innumerable ways. The most common are breathing in dust or fumes containing lead and consuming tainted food and water. This exposure intensifies in proximity to informal and unregulated lead-acid battery recycling sites, a leading cause of lead poisoning. These often open-air facilities exist close to homes and schools, with children even sometimes on-site. In these facilities, smelting sends toxic fumes into the air and furnaces spill lead dust onto the ground. Parents who work at these sites bring contamination home on their clothes, shoes, skin and hair, exposing their children to the toxic substance.
What we are doing to help
We are educating communities and working with governments and service providers to prevent and address childhood lead exposure.