UNICEF has released a new report showing that lead poisoning is affecting children on a massive and previously unknown scale. It states that 1 in 3 children have blood lead levels at or above 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL), a level which requires action. As this infographic shows, nearly half of all children affected are living in South Asia.
Exposure to lead during childhood has been linked to various mental health and behavioural problems as well to increases in crime and violence. Severe consequences among older children include an increased risk of kidney damage and cardiovascular disease in later life. The report estimates that childhood lead exposure costs lower and middle income countries nearly $1 trillion in lost economic potential over the lifetime of affected children.