didnt really want to take a look at the damage before now. quoting from whikiedia:
Today almost everyone is exposed to environmental lead. Exposure to lead and lead chemicals can occur through inhalation, ingestion or occasionally dermal contact. Lead mining and lead smelting are common in many countries, where children and adults can receive substantial lead exposure from sources uncommon today in the U.S. Most countries will have phased out use of leaded gasoline by 2007. Lead exposure in the general population (including children) occurs primarily through ingestion, although inhalation also contributes to lead body burden and may be the major contributor for workers in lead-related occupations. Inhalation is the second major pathway of exposure. Almost all inhaled lead is absorbed into the body, whereas from 20% to 70% of ingested lead is absorbed (with children generally absorbing a higher percentage than adults do). Dermal exposure plays a role for exposure to organic lead among workers, but is not considered a significant pathway for the general population, except in areas where leaded gasoline is used. Organic lead from gasoline additives may be absorbed directly through the skin.
Lead poisoning is a medical condition, also known as saturnism, plumbism, or painter's colic caused by increased blood lead levels. Lead may cause irreversible neurological damage as well as renal disease, cardiovascular effects, and reproductive toxicity.
Humans have been mining and using this heavy metal for thousands of years, poisoning themselves in the process due to accumulation and exposure. These dangers have long been known, though the modern understanding of their full extent and the small amount of lead necessary to produce them is relatively recent; blood lead levels once considered safe are now considered hazardous, with no known threshold. Reducing these hazards requires both individual actions and public policy regulations.