Everything You Need to Know About the Dangers of Lead Poisoning

What is Lead Poisoning?

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over a period of months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health and developmental problems. Young children under 6 are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely impact their mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Other sources include contaminated air, water and soil. Adults who work with batteries, do home renovations or work in auto repair shops also may be exposed to lead.

What are the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning?

Signs and symptoms in children include:

• Developmental delay

• Learning difficulties

• Irritability

• Loss of appetite

• Weight loss

• Sluggish and fatigue

• Abdominal pain

• Vomiting

• Constipation

• Hearing loss

Signs and symptoms in newborns include:

• Learning difficulties

• Slowed growth

Signs and symptoms in adults include:

• High blood pressure

• Abdominal pain

• Constipation

• Joint pains

• Muscle pain

• Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities

• Headache

• Memory loss

• Mood disorders

• Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm

• Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women

What are the Causes of Lead Poisoning?

Human activity such as mining, burning fossil fuels and manufacturing has caused lead to become more widespread, since it is a metal that occurs naturally in the earth’s crust. Lead used to be a key ingredient in paint and gasoline and was used in batteries, solder, pipes, pottery, roofing materials and some cosmetics. It was later deemed as unsafe.

1. Lead Paint: the use of lead-based paints for homes, children’s toys and household furniture has been banned in the U.S. since 1978. But lead-paint still exists in many older homes, apartments and buildings. Most lead poisoning in children results from eating lead-based paint chips.

2. Water Pipes and Imported Canned Goods: lead pipes, brass plumbing fixtures and copper pipes soldered with lead can release lead particles into tap water. Lead solder in food cans is banned in the U.S. but is still used in some countries.

3. Tradition Remedies: lead may be present in certain tradition medicines such as: Greta or azarcon, Litargirio, Ba-baw-san, Ghasard, Daw tway.

4. Other Sources of Lead Exposure Include: Soil, water, household dust, pottery, toys, traditional cosmetics.

What are the Risk Factors of Lead Exposure?

Factors that may increase your risk of lead poisoning include:

• Age: infants and young children are more likely to be exposure to lead. They pay chew paint chips and their hands may be contaminated with lead dust.

• Living in an Older Home: older homes build in or before the 1970s may still have remnants of lead paint. People renovating older homes are also at high risk.

• Certain Hobbies: Making stained glass requires the use of lead solder. Refinishing old furniture can put you at risk of exposure.

• Country of Origin: people who live in developing countries are at higher risk because those countries often have less strict rules regarding exposure to lead and the banning of lead. American families who adopt children from other counties may want to have their child’s blood tested for lead poisoning.

What are the Complications Associated with Lead Poisoning?

Exposure to lead can lead to complications such as brain development in children, damage to the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults, and a risk of seizures, unconsciousness and possibly death.

What Do I Do if I Believe My Family Has Been Exposed to Lead?

First, get your family tested for lead poisoning if you believe you and your family may have been exposed to lead at some point.

If you or a loved one has lead poisoning due to the negligence of another individual such as a landlord or employer, contact our experienced attorneys for a free consultation today. We’re here for you.

Source: Mayo Clinic