Leaded lipstick: How much is too much?

I noticed that these days, ladies are becoming more fashionable and thus feel it is very vital to share this piece with my blog visitors (especially the ladies). Enjoy!

Lead is in many lipsticks. But is that okay?

In a study recently conducted in the US, it was found that all the 400 lipsticks tested had high levels of lead measuring up to 7.19 parts per billion. This was highlighted in a national Campaign for Safe in an analysis of lead in lipsticks done for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The Safe Cosmetics says that the quantity found is more than twice the levels reported in a previous FDA study, leaving greater concerns.

In a press release issued by Safe Cosmetics quoted Mark Mitchell, M.D., MPH, policy advisor of the Connecticut Coalition for Environmental Justice and co-chair of the Environmental Health Task Force for the National Medical Association, who said, “Lead builds up in the body over time and lead-containing lipstick applied several times a day, every day, can add up to significant exposure levels.”

In addition, “lead is a proven neurotoxin that can cause learning, language and behavioural problems. Pregnant women are particularly vulnerable to lead exposure, because lead easily crosses the placenta and enters the foetal brain where it can interfere with normal development,” said Sean Palfrey, M.D., a professor of paediatrics and public health at Boston University and the medical director of Boston’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Program, as quoted in the press release.

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Zamfara Lead poisoning: a case still in limbo!

It was yesterday evening when I was reading the e-copy of Leadership News, a Nigerian newspaper, that I came across this news piece on Zamfara Lead Poisoning.
It reads as follows: “Since the story of lead poisoning in Zamfara state hit the news stands, the names of the sleepy little villages of Bagega, Dareta, Abare and Yargalma continue to prominently feature in the world news”. Our correspondent in Gusau, SHEHU UMAR who recently visited these villages analyses how the catastrophic lead poisoning wraught great havoc on these farming and herding communities.

In March 2010, various media organizations all over the world beamed their search lights on these communities in their effort to perhaps be at the forefront in the timely reporting of what seemed to be the biggest lead poisoning disaster ever recorded in history.

Since then, there have been a heavy media representation in the affected villages.

LEADERSHIP WEEKEND investigation revealed that lead poisoning started when people in the  poverty stricken communities resorted to illegal mining of the gold and other mineral resources to make ends meet.

Many illegal mineral processing plants were established by the villagers in their personal residences, not minding or ignorant of the dangers associated with the mining activities.

The heavy presence of lead in the mined minerals resulted in unprotected contamination of the villagers, especially women and children.

A very large number of women and children were affected, resulting in the death of over 1000 children, while hundreds of others were deformed. Beside the deformities, health experts have also made it clear that lead poisoning could cause infertility and miscarriage in women.

Mallama Zuwaira, a house wife who lost her five year old child, Aliyu following the very large concentration of lead in his blood recounted her grief and sorrow to LEADERSHIP WEEKEND.

’He was the only child in the family and we lost him. I am pleading with the government to come to our aid to stop this for recurring’’. She wept.

This menace drew the attention of government and non-governmental organizations, such as UNICEF,WHO and Medicines Sans Frontiers (MSF),  the world over.

These organizations partner with the federal and state governments by sending experts to provide medical aid and sensitise the affected communities on how to take preventive measures against lead poisoning.

Government on its part had embarked on massive sensitization and enlightenment campaigns against the danger of lead poisoning. It has also commenced a crackdown on these illegal miners.

LEADERSHIP WEEKEND checks in  one of the illegal mining sites in Bagega village in Anka local government area of the state revealed that poverty plays a major role in this problem, as youths, mostly in their early twenties were busy digging under ground tunnels in search of the precious minerals, especially gold.

One of the illegal miners who goes by the name Haruna Kaba told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND that he would never abandon the mining sites until he was satisfied that he had got what he wanted.

‘’Any attempt to stop people from these mining activities means government wants to invite security problems, because these mining activities provide jobs for thousands of unemployed youths and they eke out a living here’’. He explained.

Speaking on the dangers associated with the mining, the gold digger said, “Every living soul would taste the bitter pill of death, whether a miner or not”, he explained, as he continued with his mining activities resigning him self to fate.

Investigations further revealed that the major attraction, in spite of the health hazard, is that the youths are making a lot of money from mining.  It was learnt that recently a group of three miners in the same mining pit made six million Naira. Moreover, there is a ready market for the gold because dealers from neighbouring countries  have flooded the mining sites and the villages.

Alhaji Ibrahim Garba, one of the  dealers told LEADERSHIP WEEKEND that he buys a gramme of gold at the rate of six thousand Naira.

‘’The miners don’t need to go to Gusau to sell the gold as soon as they bring their product we weigh it and then pay them. An average miner makes about 50 thousand a day’’ he said.

Four gold miners were recently buried alive in the underground tunnels they dug themselves and all effort to rescue them failed. Even though the illegal miners have deserted the site where that particular incident happened, other illegal mining sites still flourish in the area.

The state governor, Alhaji Abdulaziz Yari has said that the government would not stop illegal mining activities in the state. Only recently, a remediation project was flagged off in Bagega village and this is one of the drastic actions that was taken to end the calamity that threatens to wipe away the entire generation.

The state government also revealed that at least N2.6bn is needed to put an end to the calamitous lead poisoning through the remediation projects already started in the  affected communities of Bagega, Dareta, Yargalma and so on.

The contaminated soils in these communities is being evacuated and replaced with the safer one and international communities have since developed interest in assisting through the provision of funds and experts.

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Nigeria Lead poisoning ‘worst in modern history’ – Human Right Watch

I came across this news piece on Zamfara Lead Poisoning and would like to share it with readers to serve as an update:

A lead poisoning epidemic in Nigeria’s north that has killed 400 children and affected thousands is the worst in modern history, but clean-up has not even begun in many areas, Human Rights Watch said Tuesday.

“Thousands of children in northern Nigeria need immediate medical treatment and dozens of villages remain contaminated two years into the worst lead poisoning epidemic in modern history,” the US-based group said in a statement.

The group reiterated a previous official death toll of 400 children, with the poisoning having been caused by illegal gold mining in villages in northern Zamfara state.

Clean-up efforts have taken place in some areas and charities such as MSF have been treating victims, but more urgent work needs to be undertaken to address the problem, Human Rights Watch said.

It said that “environmental clean-up efforts have not even begun in numerous affected villages.”

“Research by Human Rights Watch in Zamfara in late 2011 found that children are exposed to this lead dust when they process ore in the mines, when their miner relatives return home covered with lead dust, and when the lead-filled ore is manually or mechanically crushed at home,” it said.

“Children can also be exposed to toxic lead in contaminated water and food.”

The extent of the poisoning began to come to light some two years ago.

Local communities had initially largely concealed or denied the fatalities and illnesses from lead poisoning for fear that authorities would ban their mining activities, an MSF official has said.

Illicit gold mining is more lucrative than agriculture for the impoverished farming communities.

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A recent study shows air pollution worse than smoking mother.

Exhaust fumes and ground-level (tropospheric) ozone increase the risk for premature birth, according to a study by a team of researchers at Umeå University in northern Sweden. The study, carried out in Stockholm – a city with comparatively low exhaust emissions – showed that ozone and fumes affect the foetus more than if the mother were a smoker.

Previous studies carried out in more polluted global cities has previously shown that the risk for premature birth is heightened. The Umeå study now reveals that even ground-level ozone poses a danger to pregnancy, according to a report in the Svenska Dagbladet (SvD) daily.

David Olsson, a PhD student in Public Health and Clinical Medicine and part of the research group, has expressed surprise at the results which show that the effect of air pollution is comparable to that of smoking during pregnancy. “If we add up the effects of being exposed to high exhaust levels and ozone it has an even greater effect than smoking,” he told SvD.

Ground-level ozone can disrupt the development of the placenta and thus influence the time of birth. In the later stages of pregnancy, traffic exhaust fumes have been found to cause the inflammation of mother’s airways and expedite delivery.

Further studies have shown that premature babies carry a heightened risk of asthma and other respiratory problems.

According to Magnus Wickman, professor and chief physician at the Sachsska Children’s Hospital in Stockholm, prescriptions for asthma medicines are more common among premature babies than those going to full term.