Some people may think that I’m as mad as a hatter, completely bonkers … and they could be right. I’ve just had a ‘eureka’ moment and a possible reason for my aches and pains has occurred to me. Just recently I’ve been searching through my dirty old boxes, looking for neglected though interesting finds to post on my blog for your delight and delectation, and I’ve come to this conclusion …
The idea came to me from the story about mercury being used in the making of hats and how prolonged exposure affected the nervous system of the hatters, causing them to tremble and appear insane.
In my surveying of the boxes I came across an inordinate amount of lead. Detectorists unearth a lot of the stuff in the pursuit of their hobby; it can be seen as an occupational hazard. Can you see the way this is going? A lot of the metal we dig up is poisonous, and the oxidized forms are even worse.
I hate to think how, over a number of years, I have ingested small amounts of lead that have built up in my body and are perhaps responsible for the health problems I experience today. I cringe when, in detecting talks to groups, I handed round amorphous lumps of lead and asked the audience to imagine what the shape might represent.
As a young man, I investigated abandoned lead-crushing mills in County Durham’s Weardale. One of the souvenirs is sitting beside me now – a magnificent lump of galena mixed with other minerals like fluorspar. I proudly show it off to visitors and tell them that it’s a far better example than is exhibited in the British Museum.
Check this out. Lead poisoning symptoms in adults may include high blood pressure, constipation, joint and muscle pains, headache, memory loss and mood disorders. I suffer from at least two of those! Miscarriage or premature birth in women doesn’t affect me.
Time to close. I have stated facts and some of you may consider that I’ve sensationalised certain aspects; and you’d be right. I am reminded of the BBC’s Crimewatch UK television that concentrates on graphic stories of murder and mayhem. At the end of every episode, the former presenter Nick Ross would end each episode with these words: “Don’t have nightmares, do sleep well”. Don’t take what I have said too seriously. And remember, signs and symptoms usually don’t appear until dangerous amounts of lead have been accumulated.
Lead safety … did you know?
Many uses of lead and lead compounds have been discontinued or significantly reduced over the past few decades in response to health concerns. Some of these uses include lead in paints, motor vehicle fuels, solder, ammunition, fishing weights, ceramic glazes, pesticides, cosmetics, glass, plastics, alloys and many other products. Geology.com