Article courtesy of LaInfo.es | May 16, 2015 | LaInfo.es | Shared as educational material
At least 28 children under five died after drinking water contaminated with lead west of Nigeria, the Minister of Health, Fidelis Nwankwo said.
“Affected children have presented high levels of lead (…) 17-22 times more than the accepted limits according to the World Health Organization (WHO),” said Nwankwo.
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The minister explained that 28 of 65 children who presented symptoms and after drinking contaminated water died. Cows, goats, chickens and other animals also died.
The health official, Mohammed Usman, said Friday that the villagers “were extracting gold and (the water turned toxic) in their uncleanness.”The fact: It is not the first time it happens this type of lead poisoning. At least 163 people were killed in 2010 by these toxins and because of illegal mining.
WHO notes that a considerable lead exposure causes serious public health problems. Among others, mining is a major source of environmental pollution.
Children are the most vulnerable to the toxic effects of lead and can absorb four to five times more than adults. It mainly affects the developing brain and nervous system.
It is estimated that exposure to lead causes annual 600 000 new cases of mental retardation in children.