Since metals began to be processed around 5,000 years ago, people have been unknowingly ingesting and absorbing tiny particles of polluting by-products in their bodies. Now a study published this week in the journal Environmental Science and Technology has found that there is a direct relationship between metal production rates and lead contamination toxic that affects humans.
A team of researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel conducted a meticulous analysis of the skeletal remains of 132 people from a cemetery located in Rome, Italy, which was in continuous use for 12,000 years.
They found that as global lead production began and increased, so did the rates of lead absorption found in the bodies of people living during those time periods, even those who were not in any way involved in the production. of this metal.
In fact, scientists suggest that the pollutant appears to have spread in such a way through the environment that it was enough to drink, eat or breathe for the heavy metal to gradually accumulate in their bones and organs.
A highly toxic effect
“That means the more lead we produce, the more likely people are to absorb it into their bodies. This has a highly toxic effect.” Explain geologist Yigal Erels, lead author of the study.
Throughout different periods of history, lead has been used not only in paint or pipes, but also in the production of coins or in electronic devices nowadays, so constant industrialization raises concerns about its use suitable.
Lead poisoning can seriously damage organs and even cause death, while at low levels it can lead to neurocognitive problems or reproductive problems over time.
“The close relationship between lead production rates and human lead concentrations in the past suggests that without a proper regulation we will continue to experience the damaging health effects of toxic metal contamination, “Erel warned.