Africa: Lead in the Blood - the Poisoning of a Generation

opinion

A study by University of Zambia researchers published in 2015 in the journal 'Chemosphere' found that each of the 246 children under the age of seven it screened had enough lead in their blood to cause neurological impairments.

By 1927, Anglo American had obtained a controlling interest in a decades' old lead mine north of Lusaka. Today, the mine may be closed, but its legacy lives on in the tiny bodies of the children that grow up in its shadow and who carry traces of its ore in their blood. Their poisoning is just the latest in a cycle that will leave lasting intellectual and physical burdens on them and their children for generations to come.

Years have passed, but Kasuba* still remembers when she was tested for lead as a child of about eight.

A sign at the old mine site is intended to deter residents of Kabwe from entering, but many come here anyway for small-scale mining, 2018. (Photo: Human Rights Watch / Juliane Kippenberg)

The World Health Organisation says there is no safe level of lead exposure. But the amount of the metal in Kasuba's blood was up to 12 times higher than the levels a WHO...

See What Everyone is Watching

More From: Daily Maverick

Don't Miss

AllAfrica publishes around 700 reports a day from more than 140 news organizations and over 500 other institutions and individuals, representing a diversity of positions on every topic. We publish news and views ranging from vigorous opponents of governments to government publications and spokespersons. Publishers named above each report are responsible for their own content, which AllAfrica does not have the legal right to edit or correct.

Articles and commentaries that identify allAfrica.com as the publisher are produced or commissioned by AllAfrica. To address comments or complaints, please Contact us.