Lead found in 12,000 Year old skeletons reflects increasing rates of lead production, toxic exposure and a harbinger of things to come, Hebrew University study finds
In our increasingly industrialized world, what we produce “out there” has a direct impact on what happens in here, inside our bodies. A new study by Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU) reveals the link between rates of metal production and toxic lead exposure in humans. The research team closely examined human remains from a burial ground in central Italy that was in consecutive use for 12,000 years.
They found that as worldwide lead production began and increased, so, too, did the rates of lead absorption found in people who lived during those time periods—even those not remotely involved in lead production—simply by breathing the air around them. This observation of the toxic effects of metal pollution has wide-reaching implications for public health given the forecasted increase in production of lead and other metals to keep up with manufacturing demands for electronic devices, batteries, solar panels and wind turbines, among others.
Professor Yigal Erel at Hebrew University of Jerusalem (HU)’s Institute of Earth Sciences led the study, along with HU colleagues Prof. Liran Carmel, Adi Ticher and Ofir Tirosh, as well as, University of Vienna’s Ron Pinhasi and Sapienza University of Rome’s Alfredo Coppa. Their findings were published today in Environmental Science and Technology.