Lead is a known toxic metal, and we’re advised on how to make our homes safer by removing lead paint or lead pipes. However, most of us have forgotten that it is a mainstay ingredient in the fuel we put into our cars. And a new study is showing that this low-level, chronic exposure this element is actually much more poisonous than scientists originally thought.
Beginning in 1922, lead was used in gasoline to improve how the engine performed. The amount of lead in gasoline increased again in 1950, and then, even more in the 1970s, exposing millions of people to lead poisoning all over the world.
Last month, the prestigious medical journal, The Lancet, published a study entitled, “Lead and the heart: an ancient metal’s contribution to modern disease.” In it, researchers observed over 14,000 American individuals. They had all received blood tests between 1988 and 1994, showing that they had what was considered to be safe levels of this element in their bodies.
However, even these low lead levels were connected to a marked increase in mortality – especially deaths from cardiovascular disease. Study authors share that “a key conclusion to be drawn from this analysis is that lead has a much greater effect on cardiovascular mortality than previously recognized.”
In fact, the study concluded that this element is responsible for over 400,000 deaths per year in the US. This is 10 times the amount of deaths which researchers had previously attributed to lead.
In addition to threatening cardiovascular health, this harmful element is also a known neurotoxin, and a deadly substance that can harm organs, too.