KUWAIT: The World Health Organization (WHO) warned against the devastating health consequences of lead poisoning which accounts for 0.6 percent of global diseases and contributes to about 600,000 new cases of children with mental disabilities every year, Director of Media office at the Ministry of Health said yesterday.

Lead poisoning causes the death of 143, 000 persons each year; lead paint is considered a major contributor, according WHO’s report which was published last week, Dr Ghalia Al-Mutairi said in a statement. Even though countries have banned lead paint decades ago, yet it is still widely used for decorative purposes, and it continues to be in use until it is finally stripped and replaced.

According to the report, Dr Mutairi said that at high levels of exposure, lead damages the brain and central nervous system which causes coma, convulsions and even death. Children who survive poisoning are often left with mental impairment and behavioral disorders. She added that WHO is rallying international efforts to help in raising awareness against this poisonous substance in all media platforms, online or offline, and in many different languages. — KUNA