The following article caught my eye, it concerns a recent spell of lead poisoning in China.

The article can be read here:

What I thought I would focus on today is the effect of lead on the body. The heavy metal is poisonous if ingested and symptoms can include abdominal pain, muscle pain, vomiting and headaches. In more extreme cases it can lead to  seizures, coma, and death. It also impairs physical and mental development.

The effects of lead ingestion are more acute in young children or babies as they are still developing and, as they are smaller, the lead is more concentrated in their bodies.

Lead poisoning can be treated. The patient is given large quantities of a chelating agent that makes it possible to remove the lead from the blood. Chelating agents are not covered by the IB syllabus but have some interesting reactions and uses that we will cover tomorrow.