If you consume any type of media, you’ve probably heard about the crisis in Flint, where lead has contaminated the tap water and President Obama has declared a state of emergency. What you might not know is what lead exposure actually does to the human body.
Let's get this out of the way first: “There is no safe level of lead exposure,” warns Dr. Aly Cohen, an autoimmune disease specialist and founder of The Smart Human, which gives tips to reduce expos ure to everyday chemicals and radiation. Here's why you really don't want this heavy metal landing in your municipal water supply:
In children, lead exposure is especially damaging to brain development
“Children’s brains are developing and growing, and lead is a toxin that will interfere with the development of the brain, in particular,” says Erik Olson, director of the health and environmental program at the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), where he's also the senior strategic director of the food and agriculture program. “It also has other nervous system harms, but what we are worried about are the impacts of the brain development and how the child will behave and interact with the environment.”