Thursday, March 22, 2018

Nearly 500,000 Deaths Connected to Lead Contamination Yearly

According to a new study, from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington in Seattle and a CNN Report U.S. deaths may be 10 times higher than originally thought.

The new study tracked more than 14,000 adults over a period of 20 years and found that individuals with an initial blood concentration in the 90th percentile had a 37% increase in all-cause mortality. They also had a 70% increase in cardiovascular disease mortality compared to those with a blood lead concentration at the 10th percentile.

According to Dr. Bruce Lanphear, a professor of health sciences at Simon Fraser University and a leading author of the study, "Nobody had even tried to estimate the number of deaths caused by lead exposure using a nationally representative sample of adults. But if we're underestimating the impact of lead exposure on cardiovascular disease mortality and other important outcomes beyond IQ, then it might have a big impact on the way we make investments in preventing lead poisoning exposure."

The article went on to say, "The researchers relied on a nationally representative sample of 14,289 adults ages 20 years and older who participated in the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey between 1988 and 1994. The survey is administered by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention every year. Of the initial 14,289 survey respondents, 4,422 had died by 2011. The researchers calculated that approximately 18% of those deaths could have been prevented by reducing blood lead concentrations to 1.0 micrograms per deciliter."

While many lead contamination issues stem from drinking water, it's still important for contractors and painters to remember their importance in lead mitigation. Even if the numbers mentioned above are off by 50% - which is unlikely - it's still a staggering number and should give contractors and painters pause when improperly handling lead paint. If you would like to remove lead paint you must complete a course in Lead Abatement. If you plan to perform any repairs, renovations, or painting on pre-1978 homes or child occupied facilities, you must become a certified Lead Renovator.

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