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Re: Lead and other toxins.

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From: Marvin Bartel (marvinpb_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Aug 28 2002 - 20:46:15 PDT


At 05:01 PM 8/28/02 -0400, you wrote:
>Larry and others on the lead thread,
Exterior house paints in the U.S. used lead until about 1970. Earlier,
interior paints also contained lead. Today one of most common sources of
lead poisoning of children comes from paint that has washed off of old
houses and contaminated the soil around the house. People bring the dust
into the house on their shoes. Crawling babies get it on their hands and
in their mouths. These children are mentally retarded as a result.
        Our son has in an old house in Brookline, MA, that had lead paint on it
for 70 years. They planted a cherry tree about 10 feet from the house. It
has beautiful cherries. His sister tested the cherries in her university
lab in Houston. These cherries contain 100 times as much lead as Cherries
purchased at Trader Joe's in Boston. Needless to say, they do not eat the
cherries from their own tree. For homegrown tomatoes, lettuce, etc. they
fill large pots with soil from Uncle Jerry's garden in the country. They
never wear their shoes in the house. This minimizes tracking lead in from
outside.
        Gasoline in the U.S. has been leadfree since about 1970. Earlier lead was
added to enhance the octane rating of gasoline. However, lead was being
inhaled with exhaust fumes. Population studies show that SAT scores have
responded favorably since the removal of lead from the traffic smog in
cities. Soils near heavily traveled roads still contain lead that food
plants can incorporate.
        I have a former student who started teaching elementary art about 1970.
He did some painting on his own and in the summers he was a full-time
potter. About 5 years ago he gradually got so sick he was only able to be
up about three hours a day. His doctors in Missouri could not diagnose his
problem. The Mayo Clinic was able to identify cadmium and cobalt poisoning
in his system. Most potters have never heard of cobalt poisoning. It is
the standard colorant used for blue and we all consider it a safe glaze
colorant. The literature says it is toxic if inhaled (so it is safe for
food container glazes). He was a smoker and apparently inhaled the toxins
that transferred from paints and raw glazes to his fingers onto the
cigarettes. The last I heard he was being treated by the Mayo Clinic
doctors and was gradually regaining health.
        Marvin

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