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How A Home Water Filter Can Reduce Your Child?s Risk Of Learning Disabilities

Lead is one of the most dangerous toxins a person can be exposed to in his lifetime. Besides damage from radioactive or nuclear chemicals, significant exposure to lead can cause some of the most severe and even fatal health effects possible.

It seems to be fairly common knowledge that lead is dangerous and that one should avoid exposure to lead whenever possible. Fewer and fewer paints are lead-based and leaded gasoline has been almost entirely phased out. People all over the world are now making concerted efforts to protect themselves from this dangerous metal.

Without doubt, most, if not all, parents would agree that they would like to protect their children from the damaging effects of lead exposure and ingestion. Most parents would also agree that they are doing an adequate job of protecting their children from lead exposure. Still, these same parents (unknowingly) may be exposing and even encouraging their children to take lead into their bodies each and every day.

So, where does this lead come from and why does nobody seem to know about it? The answer to these questions lies in the water we take into our bodies each day. The seemingly safe tap water of most homes in the United States contains lead. When we drink this water untreated, we are consistently allowing lead to poison the inner workings of our bodies.

In most homes built before 1978, lead from lead-soldered pipes in the plumbing system corrodes into drinking water as that water passes through pipes on its way to faucets. From the pipes to the faucet, lead infiltrates our drinking water and makes its way into our bodies and our children's bodies. Municipal water treatment plants cannot control for this contaminant in water; therefore, lead continues to make its way into our water, with little or no regulation. In order to remove this dangerous contaminant from drinking water, it is absolutely vital to employ a point- of-use water filter.

Clearly, we all know that lead is dangerous and that we should make efforts to avoid it, but what exactly is so very dangerous about lead? It is only a naturally occurring metal, after all, and iron--another naturally occurring metal--is supposed to be good for the body. Lead, however, while dangerous for all people, leads to particularly damaging health and mental problems in babies and young children. Let's first examine the general damaging health effects of lead ingestion and then focus specifically on the results of lead poisoning for babies and small children.

General Health Effects of Lead
Short-term exposure to large amounts of lead has been known to cause severe vomiting, cramping, convulsions, coma, and even death. While such exposure is increasingly unlikely in today's world, even relatively low-level exposure to lead can cause some significant health problems. Lead is a leading cause of anemia, a syndrome that affects more than 3.5 million people in the United States. Continued exposure to lead can also affect nervous system functioning, resulting in impairment of mental functioning, difficulty in memory and concentration, and inability to sleep. A lifetime of exposure to lead can adversely affect kidney functioning. Lead poisoning is also a leading cause of high blood pressure, one of the current deadliest conditions for individuals in the United States. Consistently rising numbers of high blood pressure and anemia cases--syndromes that have not traditionally been connected to lead poisoning--should certainly be considered when discussing the role of lead ingestion on the body.

Effects of Lead Poisoning on Babies and Young Children
Lead is especially damaging to babies and small children, due to the relative ease at which their bodies absorb the contaminant and the sensitive nature of their developing brains. Concerning the impact of lead poisoning on children, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency recently stated, "Childhood lead poisoning remains a major environmental health problem in the U.S.." According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately one out of every 22 children has high levels of lead in his blood.

Lead poisoning gives rise to several damaging health conditions in young children's developing bodies. The younger the child is, the more damaging lead poisoning can be. The long-term effects of exposure to lead for young children include learning disabilities, hyperactivity, depressed growth, hearing impairments, and even brain damage.

For pregnant women, ingestion of lead can result in a host of birth defects and developmental problems for their growing babies. Ingestion of lead is particularly harmful to babies during the critical third trimester of pregnancy. Lead can pass into a baby's body through breast-feeding, as well.

Diagnoses of hyperactivity and learning disabilities are growing by leaps and bounds in public schools, perhaps because of so much unknowing exposure to lead and increasing cases of lead poisoning.

What You Can Do
Knowing what we do about lead and its effects on our children and ourselves, what can we do to prevent exposure to this dangerous metal? There are several approaches--all of them important--that you can take now to protect yourself and your family. Firstly, it is important to keep your home clean and dust-free because much of your child's exposure to lead comes from dirt and dust on the floor. It is also incredibly important to have your child tested for lead poisoning if you suspect or notice any of the symptoms. With early treatment, many of these problems can be quickly alleviated.

It is also absolutely vital to begin, or continue using, a home water filtration system. Untreated tap water is likely the culprit of the majority of you and your child's exposure to lead. A simple home water filter can remove lead quickly and easily to ensure that you and your family are protected from the volatile, dangerous nature of this metal.

Every parent wants to give her children every opportunity possible to succeed; taking a few minutes to provide clean, healthy water to drink is one of the best and easiest ways to accomplish this goal.

Vanessa Lausch is a writer for http://www.historyofwaterfilters.com/ - online source for water information.

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