An analysis of a glacier in the Alps reveals that at the time of the great plague epidemic in Europe in 1346-1353, which resulted in the deaths of at least 75 million people, the lead in the atmosphere was zero.
This finding goes against the generally accepted view that there is a natural and detectable level of lead in the atmosphere without being generated by human activity, writes Science Alert.
When Black Death (as it is called the Middle Ages pandemic) struck the continent, it led to extremely difficult times for society, stopping the industries of that period.
According to historian Alexander More, Harvard University, one of these industries was metallurgical. Following analyzes in the Swiss Alps, More’s team found only one case in the last 2,000 years when atmospheric lead dropped to negligible levels, namely between 1349 and 1353, when the period when Black Death led to the collapse of the industry.
More said that “when we saw the magnitude of the decline in lead levels, and we saw it once – only during the pandemic period, we were intrigued. In the absence of the workforce, the lead industry has stopped in all major production areas. This is reflected in ice by significantly lowering lead levels.”
Also, the fact that the lead level rises after the epidemic and is high before this event shows that lead pollution is not something that began with the Industrial Revolution nearly 500 years after Black Death. The study shows that measurable levels of lead begin 2,000 years ago or even more in some areas once man began to process the metal.
Ultimately, the study shows that there is no natural lead in the atmosphere. In other words, although lead is a natural element, it cannot be in the atmosphere at detectable levels unless there is anthropogenic activity.