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What are the Symptoms of Lead Poisoning?

If you are wondering “what are the symptoms of lead poisoning?”, chances are you fear that you or your family may have been exposed to lead and are aware of its potential to damage your health. The fact is that many of us are at risk. Older homes in the U.S. often contain lead, which was a common ingredient in paint for many years. According to the CDC, deteriorated leaded paint and elevated levels of lead contaminated house dust are present in an estimated 24 million U.S. housing units. More than 4 million of these units are homes to one or more young children.

Right off the bat it is important to note that most children with lead poisoning will not have immediate symptoms. Lead poisoning generally causes symptoms like stomach aches and anemia only at very high levels, and those symptoms are similar to much less serious illnesses. That is why it is critical that all children who may have been exposed to lead be tested to determine how much is in their blood.

For adults, the situation is different. According to the New York Department of Health, there are an array of symptoms, which can occur depending on the level of exposure. So, what are the symptoms of lead poisoning? See below:

  • Neurological Effects:
    • Peripheral Neuropathy
    • Fatigue / Irritability
    • Impaired Concentration
    • Hearing Loss
    • Wrist / Foot Drop
    • Seizures
    • Encephalopathy
  • Gastrointestinal Effects:
    • Nausea
    • Dyspepsia
    • Constipation
    • Colic
    • Lead Line on Gingival Tissue
  • Reproductive Effects:
    • Miscarriages/Stillbirths
    • Reduced Sperm Count & Motility
    • Abnormal Sperm
  • Heme Synthesis:
    • Anemia
    • Erythrocyte Protoporphyrin Elevation
  • Renal Effects:
    • Chronic Nephropathy with Proximal Tubular Damage
    • Hypertension
  • Other:
    • Arthralgia
    • Myalgia

As mentioned above, different levels of exposure can also lead to variations in the level of damage to your health:

  • At levels above 80 µg/dL, serious and permanent health damage may occur.
  • Between 40 and 80 µg/dL, serious health damage may be occurring, even if there are no symptoms.
  • Between 25 and 40 µg/dL, regular exposure is occurring. There is some evidence of potential physiologic problems at this level.
  • Between 10 and 25 µg/dL, lead is building up in the body and some exposure is occurring.

Lead is a very toxic substance that can also cause serious injuries such as kidney and brain damage. Exposure to lead-based paint is the most common cause of lead poisoning. If you are living in a residence built in the late 1970s or earlier, lead paint may have been used and you or your loved ones could be at risk. Additionally, even though the U.S. government banned the sale of lead based paint in 1978, millions of buildings still contain lead paint.

Rapid identification of lead exposure is crucial, because while damage from lead poisoning is permanent, the condition can be treatable before damage is done. Children are the most at risk because their brain and central nervous system is still developing.

Injuries to children from lead exposure can include:

  • Stunted growth
  • Kidney damage
  • Mental retardation
  • Attention deficit disorder
  • Learning disabilities
  • and sometimes even death

Many consumer products still contain unsafe levels of lead paint. Recently it has been discovered that some popular toys manufactured outside of the United States, but sold in the U.S., contained unsafe lead levels. Over the past year, parents in the United States have spent a significant amount of time trying to determine which toys have been recalled for lead issues.

If you have been wondering, “what are the symptoms of lead poisoning?”, or if you or your child has had positive tests for elevated lead levels, request a Free Case Consultation to speak with a lawyer.

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