QUESTION TEXT: Many calcium supplements contain lead, a…
QUESTION TYPE: Paradox
PARADOX: Calcium supplements often have lead, and lead is dangerous. We can store a small amount of lead in bones.
Doctors say that it’s better to take calcium supplements with lead rather than to take no calcium supplements at all.
ANALYSIS: We know lead is bad. But that’s only half the story. Calcium supplements don’t only contain lead: they also have calcium.
There must be some benefit to calcium consumption that outweighs the danger from lead.
- This makes the situation more confusing. If people are already getting trace amounts of lead from food, then extra lead from supplements is even more dangerous.
- This is just a fact about lead. It doesn’t help explain why doctors think that the lead in calcium supplements is safe.
- Who cares? The fact that there are other causes of anemia tells us nothing about calcium supplements. We know that the lead in those supplements can cause anemia, that’s not in question.
- This would have been the right answer if it had said that a high calcium diet increases the amount of lead we can tolerate.
But this says the opposite. So taking calcium supplements makes lead even more dangerous.
- CORRECT. This explains why it may be safer to take calcium supplements with lead. If we didn’t have the calcium, our bones might leach even more lead.
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