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B. Lead Poisoning: A Silent Enemy

Narrator: This is Science Today. Although Congress banned the use of lead paint back in 1971, there are still about 57 million homes in the country which are contaminated with lead based paints. But Los Alamos National Laboratory researcher, Chuck Wilkerson says paint flakes are not the only way children get lead in their system.

Wilkerson: Certainly having the lead flakes is a higher source in terms of concentration of lead, but it's not the only one they're exposed to as constantly. With the reduction of the amount of use of lead in fuels, lead in the environment has decreased a lot, but there's still so many places industrially, that lead is used.

Narrator: Once in the atmosphere, this lead is deposited in the soil and inhaled, which can lead to a variety of very serious physical and mental problems.

Wilkerson: It has been shown to decrease the IQ of developing children. It's been shown to cause behavioral problems. It's been shown to affect neuro-muscular development. It's been shown to affect blood production. And so it's a very, very serious problem.

Narrator: For Science Today, I'm Larissa Branin.