Lead and the decline in Roman empire

Guayaquil - Ecuador

Many people is alarmed at the great number of insane emperors that someday ruled Rome and because of the disease and the inability to administer the empire or maybe apathy to make it stronger caused the decline of the Roman empire.

Now we are going to reveal one of the causes that could have been a vital one : Lead

what is lead?

Lead is a common metal found naturally in the earth. The ancient Egyptians used lead in cosmetics and the ancient Romans used it to transport drinking water. Today lead is used in many products including batteries, solder, paint, fishing weights, pottery glaze, and ammunition. Lead has also been added to gasoline to reduce engine knocking. However, in the United States and much of Europe, only "lead-free" gasoline is now available, lead is found in many plumbing pipes and fittings and in solder used in older water systems. People may drink water contaminated by lead that has leached into the water supply.

How Does Lead Affect the Nervous System?

Lead is toxic to many organs of the body. It is especially dangerous because it can damage the brain and peripheral nerves. These nerves connect the brain and spinal cord to the rest of the body. Lead can affect anyone, but children are especially at risk because they are still growing rapidly. Lead would cause a slow development of the kid, lead exposure has been associated with reduced IQ, learning disabilities, decreased growth, hyperactive and antisocial behavior, and impaired hearing. Lead-poisoning in adults may cause muscle and joint pain, digestion problems, memory and concentration problems, high blood pressure, headaches, and dizziness.

The ancient Romans used lead for making water pipes, cooking utensils, water tanks and storage vessels. Lead water pipes were used in most major cities in the empire. Wine was cheap in ancient Rome and Athens and it was contaminated with lead from as many as 14 sources during its preparation. Lead was used as part of the preservative and as a flavor enhancer. Even the Christian sacramental cups of that era were the kind that were made of lead or leaded bronze common at the time.

Apathy and gluttony have been associated with the decline of the Roman Empire. It may have been the lead in food, water and wine which caused the apathy. Musonius, a Roman writing in the first century A.D., observed that masters were weaker, less healthy and less able to endure labor than the servant class. Those who grew up in the country were stronger than those who grew up in the city. Those who ate plain food were likely to live longer and have less of the diseases associated, by hindsight, with lead poisoning. These were "gouts," "dropsies" and colics." This is as close as anyone got to discovering chronic lead poisoning in the Roman Empire and leaving a record of the hypothesis.

The rich received more than their share of lead poisoning because they could afford more of the sources of lead contamination. When soft water sits in lead pipes, it leaches the lead from the pipes. In ancient Rome, the rich controlled most of the public water outlets. The first drawn water of the morning, which had been sitting over night absorbing lead, was a privilege of the rich. The evidence suggests that the offspring of parents with lead poisoning were more likely to be underachievers and had a high infant mortality rate.

Chronic lead poisoning persistently destroyed the Roman aristocracy, thus creating a scarcity of good management. Old aristocratic families died out only to be replaced by others who suffered the same fate. Nriagu concludes that lead contamination was a major cause of the decline of the Roman Empire.

As the water and the wine was contaminated with lead most of the rich people were more in contact with lead contamination because they had plumbing carrying water inside their house and they used lead plumbing to get it inside the house and they used the water at early hours of the mourning after the lead have been sitting all night in the water and other cause of lead contamination in rich people is that they used lead to enhance the flavor of the wine and to preserve