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    Lead as a veiled threat. The properties and the effect of lead on the environment.

    Lead as a veiled threat. The properties and the effect of lead on the environment. Currently, the industry around the world is going through the next stage of reforms related to the tightening of environmental standards – It takes a universal rejection of the lead. Germany has substantially limited its use in 2000, the Netherlands - since 2002, and European countries such as Denmark, Austria and Switzerland all have banned the use of lead. This trend will be common to all EU countries in 2015. The US are also actively developing technologies that will help find an alternative to the use of lead. Most major corporations put refusal to lead in the list of priorities.
    Yet the global transition to Lead Free Compatible technology - a task even if not very far away, but still the future. The fact that the danger of lead to the environment and human health, paradoxically, combined with its exceptional importance for modern industry.
    In this article we will try to give full consideration to the tendency for not using lead. Also, try to find answers to pressing and legitimate questions - it is dangerous heavy metal and this is why there is no similar campaigns for the abandonment of vanadium, manganese, nickel, because they, too, can be very dangerous for the environment.

    Lead - a heavy metal number 1

    Lead – in many ways the perfect metal, because it has many important advantages for the industry. The most obvious of which - the relative ease of its receipt of the ore, which is explained by a low melting point (total 327 & deg; C). In the treatment of the most important lead ore - galena - the metal is easily separated from the sulfur. For this galena sufficiently mixed with air to burn coal.
    Because of the high ductility of lead easily forged, rolled into sheets and wire, it can be used in the engineering industry for the production of various alloys with other metals. Widely known are the so-called babbit (bearing alloys of lead and tin, zinc and some other metals), printing alloys of lead with antimony and tin alloys, lead-tin soldering different metals.

    Lead Metal - a very good protection against all types of radiation and X-rays. He was inducted into the rubber apron and protective gloves radiologist, holding X-rays and protecting the body against their destructive action. It protects against radiation and glass containing oxides of lead. This lead glass allows you to manage the processing of radioactive materials by using " mechanical arm " - Manipulator.
    When exposed to air, water and various acids lead exhibits greater stability. This feature allows you to use it widely in the electrical industry, particularly for the manufacture of battery and cable logging. The latter are widely used in the aviation and radio. Stability lead allows to use it and to prevent damage to the copper wires of telegraph and telephone lines. Thin lead sheets coated with iron and copper parts subject to chemical attack (bath electrolysis of copper, zinc and other metals).
    Generally, it is possible to list a lot of applications of lead: the inner surface of the chemical processing equipment, pipes for pumping acids and sewers chemical laboratories, production of electrical cables, lead glass and crystal glazes (and it's not all). Books, magazines and newspapers are printed with the help of printing metal containing lead. Some of the compounds of this metal are made of paint – for example, white. Natural compounds of lead (minium, litharge) have a nice steady yellow, orange and red, and are used as dyes. Lead oxide is used in metallurgy, glass case, and medicine. The PVC industry is the use of lead stabilizers allows you to create windows that are resistant to deformation, heat and sunlight.
    Talking about the price of lead, it is necessary to note its relative cheapness. For prices LME zinc is cheaper by an average of $ 100-150, aluminum at $ 800, and copper - at $ 2000 per tonne.
    But is it perfect lead?

    Lead as a veiled threat

    As the ancients said, every coin has two sides. Despite all its advantages, lead is harmful to human health, and its widespread use in the industry led to the fact that the lead contamination can be found everywhere. Consider the most important components of the biosphere, such as air, water and soil.
    Let's start with the atmosphere. With air in the human body accumulates small amounts of lead – (only 1-2%), but much of the lead is absorbed. The largest emissions of lead into the atmosphere occur in the following industries:
    - Iron and steel industry;
    - Mechanical engineering (production of rechargeable batteries);
    - Energy (production of leaded petrol);
    - Chemical complex (manufacture of pigments, lubricants, etc.);
    - Glass enterprises;
    - Cannery;
    - Woodworking, pulp and paper industry;
    - In the defense industry.
    Without a doubt, the most significant source of atmospheric pollution by lead is road transport using leaded petrol.
    The elevated content of lead in drinking water causes tend to increase its concentration in blood. A significant increase in the content of this metal in the surface waters due to its high concentration in the wastewater ore-dressing plants, some steel mills, mines, etc.
    From contaminated soil Lead enters the crops and with food - directly into the human body. Noting the active accumulation of the metal in the cabbage and root vegetables, and in those that are commonly used in food (eg potatoes). Some types of soil firmly bind lead that protects against contamination of groundwater and drinking water, vegetable products. But then the soil itself is gradually becoming more infected and at some point may occur the destruction of soil organic matter with the release of lead in the soil solution. As a result, it would be unsuitable for agricultural use.
    Thus, as a result of global environmental pollution by lead, he became a ubiquitous component of all plant and animal foods. In humans most of the lead supplied with food - from 40 to 70% in different countries. Plant foods generally contain more lead than allowed.
    As already mentioned, the entire blame for the industrial enterprises. Naturally, in the factories themselves, dealing with lead, the environmental situation is worse than anywhere else. According to the results of official statistics, among the professional intoxications lead ranks first. In the electrical industry, ferrous metallurgy and machine-building intoxication due to exceedance of lead in the air of the working zone of 20 times or more. Lead causes extensive pathological changes in the nervous system, violates the cardiovascular and reproductive systems.
    Thus, lead is ideal, but deadly?

    No time for lead

    Fortunately, there are many ways to save mankind from this insidious metal. Introduced certain legal restrictions on the use of lead in different fields of human activity. Perhaps the most famous act to limitation of its use – it's not so long ago a decision of the Commission on the Environment of the EU. By the end of 2005 it is planned to abandon the use of this heavy metal in many industries. This initiative supports a variety of manufacturers of goods needed in everyday life.

    Currently under development law shall apply these measures on the whole EU industry. It is gratifying that our country does not lag behind the enlightened Europe. 
      But as you know, the paper can endure. What's really going on? What is really being done to cleanse the atmosphere, water and soil? The major direction of solving the problem of air pollution lead becomes a search for alternative motor fuel. Scientists around the world regard the twenty-first century as the « the era of methane », above all, because it is an environmentally friendly fuel (main combustion products are carbon dioxide and water), and, most importantly, its reserves significantly exceed the reserves of oil. In urban environments, where maximum levels of air pollution, and transportation distance is relatively small, it is very promising hydrogen fuel cars and electric cars. Already created and tested in real urban environments electric vehicles, with a cruising range of 100-150 km.
    The most common method of water treatment is the use of lead-activated carbon. Recently, however, due to the more stringent requirements for the quality of drinking water, it began to displace carbon nanotubes.
    Well, let's say that in respect of the biosphere makes certain steps. But what about the food? After all, its sustainability, is likely to depend not only on where it is grown. Indeed, one of the major sources of lead in the human body are canned foods. For example, the lead content in the muscles of tuna during drying and grinding is increased to 400 times, and after packing into sealed cans – 4000 times. When drying the concentration increases due to water loss, and when packaged in cans using solder containing lead.
    Experts from the World Health Organization reported that the milk processed by the factory, contains significantly more lead than fresh cow's milk. Incidentally, the chemical analysis of washed and unwashed fruits turned out that 30 to 65% of the lead is removed by normal cleaning.
    But even solving the problem of domestic and natural contaminants, we can not forget about their immediate cause – industrial production. Any doctor will tell you that it is useless to treat the symptoms – it is necessary to find the cause. Speaking of production problems, it should be noted that the most important cause of intoxication is a professional air pollution industrial premises. Among the activities aimed at improving its status, are improving the technology to reduce emissions of harmful substances, as well as ventilation and measures that reduce emissions of pollutants into the atmosphere.
    Unfortunately, the majority of enterprises, especially in our country, can not afford large-scale conversion of systems responsible for environmental safety of the enterprise. But in many cases this is not required.
    One of the technologies developed is to optimize the air distribution that can be applied in any industries associated with lead. Such minor upgrades will play a major role in reducing occupational intoxication due to excess of allowable concentrations of lead in the air.
    A good example of the evolution of the production is the development and implementation at all plants of the international concern profine GmbH recipe green line. This technology involves the use of environmentally friendly, harmless to health « lead-free » stabilizers that are based on calcium compounds – zinc. With the introduction of new environmental standards have an opportunity for environmentally safe disposal of PVC profiles.

    Safety first

    So what is the lead – universal protection against most aggressive external influences, easily produced, easily recyclable and therefore cheap, or ghastly gray ghost, threatening humanity lots of troubles – from crop failures to congenital disease?
    The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle. Lead threat – the result of excessive short-sighted, and the production and use of lead during the past centuries. But now come to the fore and environmentally sound production processes, so it's time for a thorough analysis of the threats to the environment, and a radical revision of the relationship to nature. Of course, the lead for a long time will not lose their value in the industry, but if there are alternatives, then they need to use. And the world around us becomes a little clearer.
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