28 children so far had died as a result of the lead poisoning in Rafin Local Government of Niger State of Nigeria due to small-scale or artisanal mining of gold in the area.
This occurred a time when the country is yet to recover from the ravages of a similar incident in Bagega, Zamfara State where over 400 children were affected in 2013.
Lead poisoning is a medical condition in humans and animals caused by increased levels of the lead in the body. Lead interferes with a variety of body processes and is toxic to many organs and tissues including the heart, bones, intestine, kidney and reproductive and nervous systems. It interferes with the development of the nervous system and so particularly toxic to children, causing potentially permanent learning and behavior disorders.
Symptoms include abdominal pain, confusion, headache, anemia, irritability, and in severe cases seizures, coma, and death.
Routes of exposure to lead include contaminated air, water, soil, food, and consumer products. Occupational exposure is a common cause of lead poisoning in adults.