Prof. Oladapo Ashiru

By Professor of Anatomy/Consultant Reproductive Endocrinologist 0700 MARTCENTERRecently, Sheryl Vanderpool of the World Health Organisation circulated a paper to the 15th-member FIGO working committee on Reproductive Toxins with a special request that we spread the information contained therein widely.

I, therefore, wish to use this article to highlight the points raised in the paper titled, ‘Toxic Truth: Lead and Fertility by Karen Clay,’ Heinz College Carnegie Mellon University and her group from the National Bureau of Economic Research in Cambridge USA – Working Paper 24607, May 2018.

Here is an excerpt from the paper: Using U.S county-level data on lead in the air for 1978-1988 and lead in topsoil in the 2000s, this paper examines the impact of lead exposure on a critical human function with societal implications – fertility.

To provide causal estimates of the effect of lead on fertility, we use two sets of instruments: (i) the interaction of the timing of implementation of Clean Air Act regulations and the 1944 Interstate Highway System Plan for the panel data and (ii) the 1944 Interstate Highway System Plan for the cross-sectional data.

We found that reductions in the airborne lead between 1978 and 1988 increased fertility rates and that higher lead in topsoil decreased fertility rates in the 2000s. The latter finding is particularly instructive, because it suggests that lead may continue to impair fertility today, both in the United States and in other countries that have significant amounts of lead in topsoil.

We in Nigeria must find this to be alarming. One cannot overemphasise the detrimental role that toxins play not only in the development of certain ailments like cancers and pulmonary pathologies but also on our reproductive health. Current experience in clinical practice amplifies this hazard, and it is particularly worrisome because there is no robust programme in our country that deals with the estimation or control of the various toxins released into the environment.

Environmental toxins come in various forms like fumes from automobile and generator exhaust, diesel engines, industrial waste, etc. As a result, there is substantial cross-sectional variation in the lead in topsoil. Lead in topsoil is re-suspended in a number of contexts, including dry or windy seasons, during construction, and when it is tracked into houses in the form of dust.

For both airborne lead and lead in topsoil, exposure occurs through inhalation and consumption. Consumption occurs when food or drink comes in contact with dust or if food is grown in lead-contaminated soil. In 2010, the World Health Organisation stated that for the general population, “the largest contribution to the daily intake of lead is derived from the ingestion of food, dirt, and dust.” (WHO 2010).

Fertility is important at both the individual and societal levels, where it has implications for economic activity. Thus, factors that adversely affect fertility are of significant policy concern. Animal studies and epidemiological research on workers with high occupational exposure have shown that lead can adversely affect both male and female reproductive systems, whether these effects extend to fertility in the broader population, where exposure levels are lower, and the magnitude of any causal effects are open questions.

According to Clay et al. who used the U.S. county-level data on lead in the air for 1978-1988 and lead in topsoil in the 2000s for analysis, there is causal evidence on the effects of lead exposure on the general fertility rate.

Beginning in the 1920s, the lead was used as an anti-knock compound in gasoline and was emitted with other particulates from tailpipes. Airborne lead fell rapidly during 1978-1988, in part because of regulatory requirements governing lead in gasoline in the Clean Air Act. Lead in topsoil is the result of naturally occurring lead and long-term deposition of lead from a variety of anthropogenic sources including lead smelting, industrial activity, agricultural activity, electricity generation, lead in paint, and gasoline emissions.

In Nigeria, the situation also exists, perhaps to a greater degree. It is, therefore, a necessity for us to know more about the danger that lead can pose to personal health and potentially to generations yet unborn, as well as common routes of everyday exposure.

Lead in the Human Body

Lead primarily enters the body from breathing in dust or chemicals that contain lead or by ingesting food or liquids that contain lead. Once lead reaches the lungs, it goes quickly to other parts of the body via the bloodstream. When the lead reaches the stomach, some of it is further absorbed into the bloodstream and the remainder is excreted.

Once in the blood, lead travels to the soft tissues and organs such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, brain, spleen, muscles, and heart. After several weeks, most of the lead moves into the bones and teeth. The half-life of lead in blood is approximately 30 days.

Once it is taken in and distributed to organs, the lead that is not stored in bones leaves the body via urine or feces. The primary method for determining lead exposure is a measurement of blood lead levels.

Although the public discussion has focused on the effects of lead in children, adults are also adversely affected by lead. The focus on young children has been driven by the effects of lead on neurological development, which has implications for IQ, educational outcomes, and behavioral outcomes.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC 2017), The National Toxicology Program (NTP 2012), and the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP 2016), there is sufficient evidence to state that there are adverse health effects in children and adults at blood lead levels (BLLs) <5 micrograms per deciliter (μg/dL). Adults can experience a variety of adverse health effects including decreased renal function, high blood pressure, hypertension, and infertility.

Vectors of Exposure

Lead exposure occurs through a number of channels including air, water, food, paint, and soil. Airborne emissions are driven by industrial activities, coal-fired power plants, and on-road vehicles and small aircraft. Emissions from on-road vehicles were by far the largest source of lead emissions through 1996 but reached zero in 2002. Lead has not yet been banned in aviation gas (non-road engines) used for small aircraft. In 2011 it was the largest source of airborne lead emissions.

…to be continued

Like this Article? Subscribe to Our Feed!


  1. ISM Phototake 3) Watney Ninth Phototake, Canada online pharmacy Phototake, Biophoto Siblings Adjunct Therapy, Inc, Impaired Rheumatoid Lupus LLC 4) Bennett Hundred Che = ‘community home with education on the premises’ Situations, Inc 5) Evanescent Atrial Activation LLC 6) Stockbyte 7) Bubonic Resection Rate LLC 8) Composure With and May Fall in requital for WebMD 9) Gallop WebbWebMD 10) Shoot Resorption It LLC 11) Katie Judge and May Exhibit for WebMD 12) Phototake 13) MedioimagesPhotodisc 14) Sequestrum 15) Dr. sildenafil viagra Yyhitl tuicmr

  2. Antimicrobial dislike reduced and catching agents such as hypertension, tachycardia, hypertension, diagnostic or peaked upright being treated in african to one or more well-organized look at a. ed pill Nwydko rsectp

  3. Hi there, I discovered your site via Google even as looking for a comparable subject, your site got here up, it appears to be like good. I’ve bookmarked it in my google bookmarks. cbd for cats pure cbd

  4. Will viagra how to order make use of faster if you chew it. Presume from on to learn more give the unique types of Viagra, how they on into ED, and whether they’re safe. Chewing viagra prescription online viagra over the counter price doesn’t indicate it charge faster. This is because tablets that you consume or ponder still include to be defeated down in your digestive portion and crack at the end of one’s tether with discrete more steps already they start working.

  5. Does ovulation pills put on timing of ovulation? In most cases, you can await ovulation within 5-9 days of your model prescribe of Clomid , but the doctor who prescribed the medication as a service to you should be able to give you a benign signs of when to imagine ovulation based on your own situation. He or she can also help you drawing when to have carnal knowledge based on when you are with a bun in the oven ovulation .

  6. Is 150 mg cvs viagra safe. The maximal quantity of sildenafil recommended by the maker is 100 mg. A lucubrate was designed to prospectively look over a group of patients with long-lived ED, unresponsive to sildenafil 100 mg, who were treated in a poorhouse setting with doses of pills like viagra at walmart purchase viagra in usa in residual of the recommended maximum dose (150 mg and 200 mg).

  7. How much does where to buy cialis online 20 mg cost. Generic tadalafil is above 50% cheaper than brand-name Cialis. Compared to the kind, which can tariff between $350 and $1700 into 30 tablets depending on their will-power, cialis online coupon costs between $100 and $600 pro 30 tablets. Not too bad.

  8. Undeniably consider that that you said. Your favourite justification appeared to be on the internet the easiest thing to consider of. I say to you, I definitely get irked at the same time as folks think about concerns that they just don’t realize about. You controlled to hit the nail upon the top and also outlined out the entire thing with no need side effect , folks could take a signal. Will probably be back to get more. Thank you|

  9. Hey there fantastic website! Does running a blog like this require a lot of work? I’ve no knowledge of computer programming but I had been hoping to start my own blog soon. Anyway, if you have any recommendations or tips for new blog owners please share. I know this is off topic nevertheless I simply needed to ask. Thanks a lot!|


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here