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Lead Poisoning

Plumbism

Lead poisoning is a condition, characterized by increased levels of lead in the body. Such a phenomenon causes development of incapacitating symptoms, which can turn life threatening, if treatment is not initiated on time.


Presentation

Signs and symptoms of lead poisoning are not evident, unless large amounts of lead have been accumulated. Children and adults present with different signs of lead poisoning.

Children, who have developed lead poisoning, suffer from abdominal pain, hearing loss, irritability, developmental delay, loss of appetite, due to which weight loss sets in, fatigue and sluggishness. In addition, affected children would also exhibit learning difficulties, and can also suffer from constipation and vomiting [7].

Adults with lead poisoning suffer from abdominal pain, high blood pressure, muscle and joint aches, headache and decline in mental functioning, characterized by mood disorders, and memory loss. Adults also show signs of numbness, and tingling sensation in the extremities. Lead poisoning can also affect the functioning of the reproductive system in adults, which can cause poor sperm motility, decreased sperm count, and frequent miscarriages and premature birth [8].

Anemia
  • Motor neuropathy, anemia and all gastrointestinal symptoms disappeared.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Simultaneously, the child showed anemia, encephalopathy, and peripheral neuropathy with albuminocytological dissociation mimicking Guillain-Barré syndrome.This case suggests that anemia with signs of peripheral and central nervous system damage could[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Initial evaluation revealed a normocytic anemia, but other workup including imaging and endoscopy was unrevealing. Given his recent use of Ayurvedic medicines, we tested for lead poisoning and found a blood lead level of 72 mcg/dl.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • One of the first manifestations of lead toxicity is anemia. Lead-induced anemia manifests as a microcytic, hypochromic anemia.[web.archive.org]
Weight Loss
  • A 25-year-old schizophrenic man presented with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss and anaemia. He was noted to be malnourished with generalised muscle atrophy.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • However, there is evidence that there are subtle effects even at lower levels Symptoms include weight loss, anemia, stomach cramps (lead colic), a bluish black line at the edge of the gums, and constipation.[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
  • Children, who have developed lead poisoning, suffer from abdominal pain, hearing loss, irritability, developmental delay, loss of appetite, due to which weight loss sets in, fatigue and sluggishness.[symptoma.com]
  • In children, common symptoms include; developmental delay, learning difficulties, irritability or sluggishness and fatigue, hearing loss, seizures, loss of appetite and weight loss, abdominal pain, vomiting, and constipation.[nicklauschildrens.org]
  • The signs and symptoms in young children can include: irritability and fatigue loss of appetite and weight loss abdominal pain vomiting constipation hearing loss developmental delay and learning difficulties Although children are at increased risk of[nhsinform.scot]
Painter
  • In the case of artists, and since the Renaissance period, this toxicity has been called painter's colic or painter's madness.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • An 1836 book notes, for example, “The business of a Painter or Varnisher is generally, and not without reason, considered an unhealthy one.[theatlantic.com]
  • Both were retired painters, but one brother (J.G.) primarily removed paint and had a history of higher chronic lead exposure.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Wikipedia: Lead poisoning plumbism colica Pictonum saturnism painter's colic a medical condition in humans and other vertebrates caused by increased levels of the heavy metal lead in the body.[memidex.com]
  • This was once fairly common among painters, and was called “painter's colic.” It became less frequent as lead-free paints were substituted for lead-based ones and as plastic toys replaced lead ones.[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
Pallor
  • He returned 2 days later with a worsening illness; increasing pallor, vomiting, abdominal colic, and changes in consciousness were recognized in the emergency department as lead-induced anemia and encephalopathy, associated with a positive abdominal film[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The symptoms of this “colic” ranged, but they often included a “cadaverous-looking” pallor, tooth loss, fatigue, painful stomach aches, partial paralysis, and gout, a buildup of uric acid that causes arthritis—all of which resemble the symptoms of chronic[theatlantic.com]
  • […] arthralgie (muscle pain and cramps), paralysie and encéphalopathie (a word he coined) but also described earlier manifestations: a blue-grey line on the gums, which he showed was due to lead sulphate; loss of weight; distinctive odour of the breath; and pallor[academic.oup.com]
  • […] exposure include: Loss of short-term memory or concentration Depression Nausea Abdominal pain Loss of coordination Numbness and tingling in the extremities Fatigue Problems with sleep Headache Stupor Slurred speech Anemia "Lead hue" of the skin with pallor[floridahealth.gov]
  • No optic nerve pallor was appreciated. Goldmann visual fields showed a dense central scotoma in the right eye and a dense cecocentral scotoma in the left. A multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) was ordered and is shown below (See Figures 1 and 2).[web.archive.org]
Moonshine
  • […] recycling Auto repair Cable splicing Hobbies Casting bullets or fishing sinkers Home remodeling Target shooting at firing ranges Lead soldering Auto repair Stained glass making Glazed pottery making Substance Use Some folk remedies Some "health foods" Moonshine[floridahealth.gov]
  • Lead-contaminated moonshine whiskey and folk remedies are possible sources. Occasionally, lead foreign objects are in the stomach or tissues (such as bullets or curtain or fishing weights).[merckmanuals.com]
  • Lead-contaminated moonshine whiskey and folk remedies are possible sources, as are occasional lead foreign objects in the stomach or tissues (eg, bullets, curtain or fishing weights).[msdmanuals.com]
  • […] recyclers Auto repairers Cable splicers Hobbies Casting bullets or fishing sinkers Home remodeling Target shooting at firing ranges Lead soldering Auto repair Stained glass making Glazed pottery making Substance Use Some folk remedies Some "Health Foods" Moonshine[health.ny.gov]
Abdominal Pain
  • We present the case of a 35-year-old Asian male who presented with abdominal pain and constipation secondary to lead poisoning.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Lead poisoning should be taken into consideration for unknown causes of abdominal pain.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The diagnosis of lead toxicity is often delayed and abdominal pain is mistaken for acute abdomen.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 29-year-old man, who recently emigrated from India, presented with a 2-week history of abdominal pain, as well as nausea, constipation, and fatigue.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The main symptoms and signs were severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and arterial hypertension. The clinical evolution was favorable under symptomatic treatment and chelation therapy.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Constipation
  • He presented with abdominal pain, constipation, and irritability. The patient's liver function tests were significantly increased. Through chelation therapy, the blood lead concentration dropped markedly and clinical symptoms greatly improved.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • We present the case of a 35-year-old Asian male who presented with abdominal pain and constipation secondary to lead poisoning.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • We encountered three patients with lead poisoning in Iran, all of whom associated with presented with diffuse abdominal pain, which was at times colicky in nature, anemia, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and slightly abnormal liver biochemistries.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • We describe three blood brothers who were involved in pottery glazing and suffered from repeated episodes of severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation and anemia due to lead toxicity.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 16-year-old young man was admitted to our hospital due to a 6-mo history of exhaustion, dizziness, nausea, abdominal cramps and constipation. X-ray examination revealed dilated stomach descending into the pelvis and small bowel distension.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Vomiting
  • A 25-year-old schizophrenic man presented with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss and anaemia. He was noted to be malnourished with generalised muscle atrophy.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Abstract Two gentoo penguins (A, B) in a penguin aquarium showed symptoms of debilitation, anorexia, vomiting and hypochondria. Penguin A died in February 2007. Other penguins did not show any abnormalities.[doi.org]
  • We encountered three patients with lead poisoning in Iran, all of whom associated with presented with diffuse abdominal pain, which was at times colicky in nature, anemia, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and slightly abnormal liver biochemistries.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • He returned 2 days later with a worsening illness; increasing pallor, vomiting, abdominal colic, and changes in consciousness were recognized in the emergency department as lead-induced anemia and encephalopathy, associated with a positive abdominal film[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • We describe three blood brothers who were involved in pottery glazing and suffered from repeated episodes of severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation and anemia due to lead toxicity.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
Colic
  • The lead poisoning is a public health problem especially in children, but its manifestation by a lead colic is rare and could simulate an acute abdomen table.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Thecolica Pictonum or colic of Poitou, under these and many other names, was a frequent, widespread, and deadly disease from Roman times until the eighteenth century.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Severe abdominal colic because of lead poisoning is an uncommon condition in adults. The diagnosis of lead toxicity is often delayed and abdominal pain is mistaken for acute abdomen.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Lead colic, anaemia, renal tubulopathies and motor neuropathies are well recognised.[doi.org]
Nausea
  • A 25-year-old schizophrenic man presented with abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, weight loss and anaemia. He was noted to be malnourished with generalised muscle atrophy.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • We encountered three patients with lead poisoning in Iran, all of whom associated with presented with diffuse abdominal pain, which was at times colicky in nature, anemia, constipation, nausea, vomiting, and slightly abnormal liver biochemistries.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • We describe three blood brothers who were involved in pottery glazing and suffered from repeated episodes of severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, constipation and anemia due to lead toxicity.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 16-year-old young man was admitted to our hospital due to a 6-mo history of exhaustion, dizziness, nausea, abdominal cramps and constipation. X-ray examination revealed dilated stomach descending into the pelvis and small bowel distension.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The patients presented with abdominal cramps, nausea, anemia of varying severity, and fatigue. Most patients had basophilic stippling and a “Burton's line,” and . . . Franziska Busse, M.D. Leyla Omidi, M.D. Alexander Leichtle, M.D.[doi.org]
Metallic Taste
  • Very high levels of lead in the blood may cause personality changes, headaches, loss of sensation, weakness, a metallic taste in the mouth, uncoordinated walking, digestive problems, and anemia. The diagnosis is based on symptoms and a blood test.[merckmanuals.com]
  • Symptoms are a metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, bloody or black diarrhea, and muscle cramps. Diagnosis is made by examination of the blood and urine. Treatment .[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
  • taste in mouth Ileus Renal Tubular damage Azotemia Gout Hematologic Affects blood synthesis Hemolysis RBC stippling Iron deficiency Musculoskeletal Muscle and joint pain Soft tissue Blue-black line in gum margins Endocrine Decreased stature Decreased[learningradiology.com]
  • Others may have symptoms like: headaches behavioral problems and trouble concentrating loss of appetite weight loss nausea and vomiting constipation a metallic taste in the mouth feeling tired muscle and joint weakness looking pale How Is Lead Poisoning[kidshealth.org]
  • Symptoms of Lead Poisoning headaches muscle and joint weakness or pain excessive tiredness or lethargy behavioral problems or irritability difficulty concentrating loss of appetite metallic taste in the mouth abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting constipation[kids.niehs.nih.gov]
Hypertension
  • She presented with abdominal pain, knee pain, and neurological symptoms, hypertension, chronic kidney disease, and anemia with basophilic stippling and lead gum lines.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The main symptoms and signs were severe abdominal pain, vomiting, and arterial hypertension. The clinical evolution was favorable under symptomatic treatment and chelation therapy.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • His family history was significant for hypertension. He does not smoke, uses occasional alcohol and has never used illicit drugs.[web.archive.org]
  • […] the bones and teeth while 99% of lead in blood is associated with erythrocytes. [ 1 ] Lead poisoning can cause nervous system toxicity and renal tubular dysfunction leading to irreversible interstitial nephrosis with progressive renal impairment and hypertension[patient.info]
Blurred Vision
  • He also complained of blurred vision, lethargy, and tremor. On the basis of these data it appeared that these infarcts were attributable to lead poisoning.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Presentation A 57-year-old male presented to the neuro-ophthalmology clinic at Wills Eye Hospital with the complaint of blurred vision in both eyes.[web.archive.org]
Central Scotoma
  • Goldmann visual fields showed a dense central scotoma in the right eye and a dense cecocentral scotoma in the left. A multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) was ordered and is shown below (See Figures 1 and 2).[web.archive.org]
Muscle Weakness
  • We report a case of total hyperpigmentation of the skin, severe itching, muscle weakness and thrombocytosis.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Neurological signs of acute poisoning typically are: paraesthesiae, pain, muscle weakness, encephalopathy (rare) with headache, convulsions, delirium, and coma.[doi.org]
  • [ID:nPEK331271] A child exposed to heavy concentrations of lead can develop anaemia, muscle weakness and brain damage, and a rash of reported poisonings across several Chinese provinces has raised pressure on officials and companies to deal with the problem[reuters.com]
  • A child who swallows large amounts of lead may develop anemia, severe stomachache, muscle weakness and brain damage. Even low levels of lead are linked to lower iq scores.[icd9data.com]
  • A child who swallows large amounts of lead may develop anemia, severe stomachache, muscle weakness, and brain damage. Even at low levels, lead can affect a child's mental and physical growth.[fpnotebook.com]
Myalgia
  • Linear regression analysis showed log of BLL was significantly associated with abdominal pain, myalgia and anorexia. CONCLUSIONS: The study unravelled an increase in opium-related Pb poisoning in the Kerman province.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • […] 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[health.ny.gov]
Muscle Cramp
  • Symptoms are a metallic taste in the mouth, vomiting, bloody or black diarrhea, and muscle cramps. Diagnosis is made by examination of the blood and urine. Treatment .[medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com]
Aggressive Behavior
  • It damages children’s brains, erodes intelligence, diminishes creativity and the ability to weigh consequences and make good decisions, impairs language skills, shortens attention span, and predisposes to hyperactive and aggressive behavior.[time.com]
  • Signs of repeated lead exposure include: abdominal pain abdominal cramps aggressive behavior constipation sleep problems headaches irritability loss of developmental skills in children loss of appetite fatigue high blood pressure numbness or tingling[healthline.com]
  • behavior Anemia Constipation Difficulty getting pregnant Difficulty sleeping Headaches Hearing loss Irritability Loss of previous developmental skills (in young children) Low appetite and energy Reduced sensations Very high levels of lead may cause vomiting[nlm.nih.gov]
  • Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association 189:1115–1117 Google Scholar Janssens E, Dauwe T, Van Duyse E, Beernaert J, Pinxten R, Eens M (2003) Effects of heavy metal exposure on aggressive behavior in a small territorial songbird.[doi.org]
  • Chronic lead poisoning in children may cause intellectual disability, seizure disorders, aggressive behavior disorders, developmental regression, chronic abdominal pain, and anemia.[merckmanuals.com]
Headache
  • The three patients had similar clinical manifestations including: severe abdominal pain, headache, pale appearance and fatigue. Liver function tests were abnormal.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • A 30-year-old man presented to the emergency room with an intense lumbar pain complaint, colic, intestinal constipation, insomnia, and progressive headache for 20 days.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Neurological signs of acute poisoning typically are: paraesthesiae, pain, muscle weakness, encephalopathy (rare) with headache, convulsions, delirium, and coma.[doi.org]
  • Adults with lead poisoning suffer from abdominal pain, high blood pressure, muscle and joint aches, headache and decline in mental functioning, characterized by mood disorders, and memory loss.[symptoma.com]
  • […] ingestion or inhalation of lead-containing material (e.g. contaminated water, paints, batteries). neuropsychiatric amnesia: short term memory poor concentration ataxia dysarthria sensory loss and paraesthesia in the extremities fatigue, sleep problems headaches[radiopaedia.org]
Seizure
  • We report the case of a 23-month-old male with hypotonia, developmental delay, and complex seizures.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • […] were estimated; the final model was adjusted for age and baseline VBLL, using random effects for village of residence. 972 children met inclusion criteria: 885 (91%) had no neurological features; 34 (4%) had severe features; 47 (5%) had reported recent seizures[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • The effects of lead are well known and range from delayed and adversely affected neurodevelopment to severe health outcomes including seizures, coma, and death.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • […] trimester in 12 (86%) subjects after the women presented with subtle but characteristic findings of severe lead poisoning, including malaise, anemia, or basophilic stippling on blood smear; one woman was identified when she presented after a generalized seizure[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • In higher quantities, lead can cause organ damage, seizures, coma, and/or death. Lead can be inhaled through the nose and mouth or ingested when consuming contaminated products.[sampsonnc.com]
Hyperactivity
  • Elevated BLLs in childhood are associated with hyperactivity, attention problems, conduct problems, and impairment in cognition.[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • In children, lead exposure can cause damage to the brain and nervous system, behavioral problems, anemia, liver and kidney damage, hearing loss, hyperactivity, developmental delays, or even death in large enough doses.[stormlake.org]
  • Symptoms of lead poisoning in children include: Cramps Hyperactivity (restless, fidgets, talks too much) Learning problems Changes in behavior Headaches Vomiting Fatigue Anemia (not enough hemoglobin in the person's blood) Cleveland Clinic News & More[my.clevelandclinic.org]
  • It damages children’s brains, erodes intelligence, diminishes creativity and the ability to weigh consequences and make good decisions, impairs language skills, shortens attention span, and predisposes to hyperactive and aggressive behavior.[time.com]
  • Increased exposure is also associated with neuropsychiatric disorders such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and antisocial behavior.[doi.org]
Confusion
  • Symptoms include abdominal pain, confusion, headaches, irritability and can result in seizures, coma and death.[dailymail.co.uk]
  • If children eat something with a lot of lead — like a bunch of lead paint chips — and therefore have a high level of lead in their blood, they may have noticeable symptoms such as headache, constipation, vomiting, or confusion.[health.harvard.edu]
  • Confusion Tremors, seizures Encephalopathy Chronic exposure is known to adversely effect IQ and behavioral development. Can cause peripheral motor neuropathy (i.e., wrist drop).[pedemmorsels.com]
  • Aware of the numerous pressures that academics face, from the pursuit of open inquiry in the midst of culture wars, to confusion and controversy over the ownership of ideas, to the scramble for declining research funds and facilities, he explores the[books.google.com]
Peripheral Neuropathy
  • Simultaneously, the child showed anemia, encephalopathy, and peripheral neuropathy with albuminocytological dissociation mimicking Guillain-Barré syndrome.This case suggests that anemia with signs of peripheral and central nervous system damage could[ncbi.nlm.nih.gov]
  • Radial mononeuropathy and other peripheral neuropathies. Diabetic neuropathy. Anaemias, acute and chronic. Constipation. Guillain-Barré syndrome.[patient.info]
  • neuropathy leading to paralysis ICD-9-CM Volume 2 Index entries containing back-references to 984.9 :[icd9data.com]
  • neuropathy leading to paralysis.[fpnotebook.com]
  • The peripheral neuropathy mostly manifests as a weakness in the extensor muscle in the upper limb, which in serious cases may present as the classic "drop hand."[doi.org]

Workup

Lead poisoning can be detected by blood tests, to check for levels of lead in the blood. Based on the criteria, lead levels beyond 5µg/dl are known to be dangerous for children, and they should be closely monitored. Those children with high levels of lead, of more than 45µg/dl or more should receive prompt treatment.

Countries with high lead exposure should have the children aged 1 to 2 years be regularly monitored for the blood levels of lead. Such a practice could prevent the irreversible damages of lead from developing [9].

Microcytic Anemia
  • Anemia Leukocytosis Urine microscopy of sediment or renal biopsy Acid-fast inclusion bodies in tubular nuclei Pathognomonic for lead poisoning Free Erythrocyte Protoporphyrin (FEP) 0.6 umol/L Imaging findings Cerebral edema in acute lead intoxication[learningradiology.com]
  • Creates a microcytic anemia, with basophilic stippling Often seen concurrently with iron deficiency (GI transporters will more avidly uptake heavy metals in this situation).[pedemmorsels.com]
  • Normocytic or microcytic anemia suggests lead toxicity, particularly when the reticulocyte count is elevated or RBC basophilic stippling occurs; however, sensitivity and specificity are limited. Diagnosis is definitive if PbB is 5 μg/dL.[msdmanuals.com]
Central Scotoma
  • Goldmann visual fields showed a dense central scotoma in the right eye and a dense cecocentral scotoma in the left. A multifocal electroretinogram (mfERG) was ordered and is shown below (See Figures 1 and 2).[web.archive.org]

Treatment

For mild cases of lead poisoning, reducing the exposure to lead can significantly bring down the blood levels. In case of severe poisoning, the following measures can be adopted to treat the condition:

  • Chelation therapy: In this method, affected individuals are given medication that would bind with the lead, which would help in its excretion through urine.
  • EDTA therapy: It is a treatment of choice in cases, when the blood levels of lead have reached beyond 45µg/dl. In such cases, individuals are chemically treated with compound a named ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid.

Based on the blood levels of lead, individuals may require combination of treatment, to prevent further damage to the body. However, it is seldom possible to reverse the effects of lead [10].

Prognosis

If children are affected by lead poisoning, then it can have debilitating complications. It can lead to permanent irreversible damages on brain functioning of the children. In adults, mild levels of lead poisoning can get corrected by themselves.

In severe cases, adults suffer from poor functioning of the nerves and muscles. Complete recovery may take several months or years, and certain individuals may even suffer permanent damage to brain functioning [6].

Etiology

Lead is naturally found in earth’s crust, and is also widely used in pottery, solder, batteries, pipes, roofing materials and certain cosmetics. In the past, lead was a major component in paint and gasoline [2].

In addition, the various other sources of lead include soil, water, household dust, traditional cosmetics and toys. Traditional remedies such as Daw tway, Ba-baw-san, Litargiro, Ghasard and greta also contain lead in them, which when consumed, can cause lead poisoning [3].

Epidemiology

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, for adults and children, the elevated blood levels have been given to be about 10µg/dl and 5µg/dl of whole blood respectively. As per the statistics provided by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), about 3 million workers in US are exposed to lead in workplace [4]. It was also revealed that about 9% of children, between the age group of 1 to 5 years had blood levels of lead more than 10µg/dl.

Sex distribution
Age distribution

Pathophysiology

Lead is introduced into the body through the method of inhalation and ingestion. In rare cases, the metal also gains entry into the body through skin contact. Studies have reported that in about 35 to 40% of cases, the lead that is inhaled through dust, gets deposited in lungs, and in 90% cases, the lead enters the blood stream. Lead creates radically active chemicals, which damage the DNA and cell membranes. Such sequence of events interferes with various body processes, causing severe damage to the functioning of the nervous system, and other body organs [5].

Prevention

The following measures can be taken to prevent lead poisoning [11]:

  • Washing hands after handling dust, or after outdoor play, is recommended to avoid contamination with lead dust.
  • Appropriate cleaning of dust surfaces is recommended.
  • The older plumbing fittings, which are loaded with lead, should be used with caution. It is recommended, that the residents should run cold water for some time, prior to using the water directly. Mothers are advised against using of direct hot water from pipe for preparation of baby formula.
  • Consumption of a healthy and nutritious diet can help prevent, as well as negate the effects of lead.

Summary

Lead is a type of metal which is a source of strong poison. Lead poisoning develops when an individual either accidentally, or deliberately, consumes objects containing lead, or breathes in lead dust. This causes lead to get accumulated in the body, which gradually causes poisoning to set in. Young children aged below 6 years are more prone to contract this condition [1].

Patient Information

Definition: Lead poisoning is a condition, defined as more than 45µg/dl of lead in the blood. Such a type of condition can gravely interfere with the function of various body organs and nervous system. If the condition is not promptly treated, it can cause irreversible damages.

Cause: Exposure to lead either through inhalation, or ingestion, can cause lead poisoning to develop. The various sources of lead include contaminated water, soil, pottery, dust, traditional cosmetics and painted toys.

Symptoms: Symptoms of lead poisoning include headache, abdominal pain, developmental delay in children, poor functioning of the nervous system, tingling sensation in the extremities, constipation, weight loss, hearing loss and fatigue.

Diagnosis: Lead poisoning is diagnosed through blood tests, to check the levels of lead. In addition, other tests may also be performed, to assess the functioning of the body organs that have been affected.

Treatment: Mildly elevated levels of lead seldom require any treatment. In severe cases, lead poisoning is treated through chelation therapy, and EDTA therapy. Certain individuals may require combination of therapies to treat the poisoning.

References

Article

  1. Warren C. Brush with Death: A Social History of Lead Poisoning, The Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore 2000. p.32
  2. Gottesfeld P, Pokhrel AK. Review: Lead exposure in battery manufacturing and recycling in developing countries and among children in nearby communities. J Occup Environ Hyg 2011; 8:520.
  3. Elevated Lead in D.C. Drinking Water - A Study of Potential Causative Events, Final Summary Report. EPA; August 2007
  4. CDC. US Department of Health and Human Services, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health; 2013. Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES).
  5. Struzyńska L, Walski M, Gadamski R, et al. Lead-induced abnormalities in blood-brain barrier permeability in experimental chronic toxicity. Mol Chem Neuropathol 1997; 31:207.
  6. Dietrich KN, Berger OG, Succop PA. Lead exposure and the motor developmental status of urban six-year-old children in the Cincinnati Prospective Study. Pediatrics. Feb 1993;91(2):301-7. 
  7. Bellinger D, Sloman J, Leviton A, et al. Low-level lead exposure and children's cognitive function in the preschool years. Pediatrics 1991; 87:219.
  8. Robins TG, Bornman MS, Ehrlich RI, et al. Semen quality and fertility of men employed in a South African lead acid battery plant. Am J Ind Med 1997; 32:369.
  9. Thomson RM, Parry GJ. Neuropathies associated with excessive exposure to lead. Muscle Nerve 2006; 33:732.
  10. Association for Occupational and Environmental Clinics: Medical management guidelines for lead exposed adults. 
  11. Flora SJ. Lead exposure: health effects, prevention and treatment. J Environ Biol. Jan 2002;23(1):25-41.

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Last updated: 2018-06-22 10:44