The Adverse Health Effects of Lead Poisoning

What are the Adverse Health Effects that Lead Exposure
The Adverse Health Effects with Lead Exposure

According to the Mayo Clinic, lead poisoning can be hard to detect — even people who seem healthy can have high blood levels of lead. Signs and symptoms usually don’t appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated. Sources of Lead – was also once a key ingredient in paint and gasoline and is still used in batteries, solder, pipes, pottery, roofing materials and some cosmetics.

Exposure to Lead –  to even low levels of lead can cause damage over time, especially in children. The greatest risk is to brain development, where irreversible damage may occur. Higher levels can damage the kidneys and nervous system in both children and adults. Very high lead levels may cause seizures, unconsciousness and possibly death.

Lead Poisoning Symptoms in Children – The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include:

  • Developmental delay

    Flint, Michigan, Lead Toxic Water
  • Learning difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Hearing loss

Lead Poisoning Symptoms in Newborns – Babies who are exposed to lead before birth may experience:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Slowed growth

Lead Poisoning Treatment – For more-severe cases, your doctor may recommend:

  • Chelation therapy. In this treatment, you take a medication that binds with the lead so that it’s excreted in your urine.
  • EDTA therapy. Doctors treat adults with lead levels greater than 45 mcg/dL of blood with one or more of three drugs, most commonly a chemical called ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). Depending on your lead level, you may need more than one treatment. In such severe cases, however, it may not be possible to reverse damage that has already occurred.

Lead Poisoning May Have Multi-Generational Effects – An NIEHS-funded study showed that mothers with high neonatal blood levels of lead — indicating that the mothers themselves experienced lead exposure in the womb — can bring about epigenetic changes in their unborn children. This study is one of the first to show that an environmental exposure in pregnant mothers can have an epigenetic effect on DNA methylation in their grandchildren.

Mayo Clinic – Lead Poisoning  / National Library of Medicine / National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences / CNN- Flint Water Crisis Fast Facts 

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