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Lead poisoning could reduce gene expression in humans

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A line map of Kabwe, indicating the mine dump (red dashes) and the townships involved in the study (black and green ovals). Credit: Yared B. Yohannes et al., Environmental Research, June 05, 2020 Scientists have unveiled a correlation between high blood lead levels in children and methylation of genes involved in haem synthesis and carcinogenesis, indicating a previously unknown mechanism for lead poisoning.

Lead poisoning is a well-documented disease, the incidence of which has drastically reduced since the use of lead has been curtailed. Nevertheless, many areas across the world still have unsafe levels of lead in the environment. Lead poisoning causes symptoms such as abdominal pain , kidney failure and infertility, among others, but the most damaging effects are seen in children, where it causes neurological and developmental deterioration; however, a number of mechanisms behind it have been elusive.

In the current work, published in the journal Environmental Research , scientists at Hokkaido University collaborated with colleagues at the University of Zambia to investigate blood lead levels in 140 children aged two to 10 years in Kabwe, Zambia. Children were chosen from townships close to and distant from an old, highly polluted lead-zinc mine. According to a survey conducted by […]

read more here —> phys.org

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