Exposure to lead: a major public health concern

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Lead is a toxic metal whose widespread use has caused extensive environmental contamination and health problems in many parts of the world. It is a cumulative toxicant that affects multiple body systems, including the neurological, haematological, gastrointestinal, cardiovascular and renal systems. Children are particularly vulnerable to the neurotoxic effects of lead, and even relatively low levels of exposure can cause serious and, in some cases, irreversible neurological damage. 

Further efforts are required to continue to reduce the use and releases of lead, and to reduce environmental and occupational exposures, particularly for children and women of childbearing age. This document provide information and guidance on lead poisoning interventions and concrete actions for decision makers.