As many as 800 million children have dangerously high lead values in their blood. The neurotoxin can cause permanent brain damage.
The huge international numbers come from a new report from Pure Earth and UNICEF. Pure Earth works to solve pollution problems that can be harmful to humans.
“A child’s earliest years of life are characterized by rapid growth and brain development. This makes children particularly vulnerable to harmful substances in the environment,” says Kam Sripada, a postdoc at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) who has contributed to the report.
Sripada collaborates with international organizations to research social health inequalities, especially among children.
“Exposure to lead during pregnancy and early in life can lead to a child never reaching his or her potential,” she says.
Sripada works at NTNU’s Center for Global Health Inequalities Research (CHAIN) in collaboration with the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and UNICEF.