Sequelae of leaded gasoline affects generation, lowers IQ in half of Americans

Gasoline did not contain lead until 1920, when the earth’s atmosphere had a negligible amount of lead. The United States started using leaded gasoline in 1923, and only banned the use of leaded gasoline in cars in 1996. It was only last year that Algeria, the last country in the world to use leaded gasoline, announced a complete ban on leaded gasoline, a toxic substance that has caused permanent human harm for 70 years. A study found that more than 170 million people in the United States are now crippled by lead pollution that year, resulting in lower IQs and faster brain aging.

Lead is neurotoxic and, once inhaled, ingested, or ingested through water in the form of dust, can enter the bloodstream, enter the brain through the blood-brain barrier, and erode brain cells. Research has found that young children are particularly vulnerable to lead that damages brain development and reduces cognitive performance.

The main way that lead penetrates into the blood is through car exhaust. The Duke University study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, used publicly available data on U.S. children’s blood lead concentrations, lead gas use, and demographics to determine the likely lifetime burden of lead exposure per living American in 2015. Scientists measure the impact of lead on intelligence in terms of IQ scores. Half of children were exposed to dangerous levels of lead, and it is estimated that lead-containing gas lowered IQ scores by 824 million points, or almost 3 points per person.

Especially in the 1960s and 1970s, people who lived at the peak of their use had fairly high levels of lead exposure in childhood, eight times the current limit, and an average IQ drop of 6 to 7 points. The researchers stressed that the IQ drop was calculated as negligible, but regardless of the score, the changes were enough to lower cognitive performance below average.

The risk of exposure to excessive lead poisons is not only reduced IQ, but also other long-term health problems, such as reduced brain size, increased likelihood of mental illness, and increased cardiovascular disease in adulthood. After the U.S. government banned the use of leaded gasoline in automobiles in 1996, children’s lead exposure has gradually declined. Studies have shown that children born after 1996 have generally lower blood lead concentrations than their parents and grandparents, but compared with pre-industrial generations, lead Exposure remains high.

Scientists have identified lead pollution as the longest-running epidemic in the United States. Japan was the first country in the world to ban leaded gasoline. Most high-income countries banned the use of leaded gasoline in the 1980s. China stopped producing leaded gasoline in 2000, and Taiwan also banned the sale of leaded gasoline in 2000.

It was only 20 years ago that leaded gasoline went out of the market, and many people are still dealing with the consequences today. And there is still lead in the environment, with a study last year of more than 1 million American children finding that half had detectable lead levels in their blood. Scientists say lead contamination is not like a torn shoulder after a car accident that heals and is all right. Lead contamination can damage the body in different ways and have long-term effects on life.

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