Lead is not just a highly toxic metal, but also a potent poison. When lead accrues in the body, serious and sometimes fatal health issues can occur. Lead-based paint, contaminated dust, art supplies, and old toys are just some of the things that can cause lead poisoning, a malady whose symptoms can be treated – though any damage caused cannot be undone.
Lead poisoning occurs when lead is ingested in any form: solid, liquid, dust. Lead cannot be tasted or smelled, and it’s invisible to the naked eye. These attributes make lead a particularly malicious material.
Lead Poisoning Symptoms
Depending on the victim’s age, immune system, and overall health, lead poisoning’s symptoms vary, affecting many areas of the body. In most cases, the symptoms of lead poisoning are slow to reveal themselves, surfacing only after repeated exposures to small quantities of lead. In fact, people exposed to lead on a one-time basis are rarely affected.
Here are some signs of repeated lead exposure:
- Abdominal pain
- Memory loss
- Loss of appetite
- Numbness/tingling in the extremities
People exposed to a high (toxic) dose of lead poisoning over time can manifest emergency symptoms such as:
- Muscle weakness
Who is most at risk?
Children are most at risk of getting lead poisoning. Their brains and nervous systems are still developing, and lead poisoning can have permanent detrimental effects on a child’s intellectual development. These effects include:
- Hearing problems
- Behavioral issues
- Low IQ/poor grades
- Delayed growth
- Short and long-term learning challenges
Also at risk are people in developing countries where there are no strict rules regarding lead’s usage.
Lead Poisoning: Diagnosis
A standard blood test is the most common way that lead poisoning is diagnosed. Additional options, depending on the poisoning’s extent, include x-rays, a bone marrow biopsy, and a special blood test that looks specifically at the amount of iron-storing cells in the blood. Lead is very common in the environment, which is why it’s wise to get tested if you believe that you or a family member has been exposed. Bear in mind that no amount of lead in the blood is safe: even lead levels as low as 5mg per deciliter have been found to cause health problems in children.
Adults exposed to a moderate lead level typically recover with no lasting complications. A child’s recovery time can take more time, and even low exposure can mean permanent intellectual disability.
Removing Lead from a Home or Business
The best way to avoid lead poisoning is to engage Axis Response Group for lead abatement near Glenview. This entails a full examination of your home by our team, and the subsequent removal of lead-based interior/exterior paint, household items, etc. If the lead cannot be removed, we’ll seal it so it’s no longer a risk.
Things you can do on your own to help prevent lead poisoning include using only cold water for food/drink preparation, throwing away painted toys from foreign countries, testing your water for lead, and ensuring any paint you use is lead-free.
For more information about lead poisoning and lead removal, contact the experts at Axis Response Group today.