Long-term exposure to small doses of lead as well as acute exposure to higher amounts of this metal may have detrimental effects on the entire body. Damage is also more severe if lead poisoning occurs in children than if it develops in adults. Nevertheless, it is essential to get familiar with potential sources of lead and avoid circumstances under which this heavy metal may enter the body in any way.
Harmful Effects of Lead
Lead can enter the body in different ways. It can be ingested, inhaled and sometimes it can also be absorbed through the skin. Once entering the body, lead gets spread all around it and is distributed to different tissues, organs and organ systems. Damage is different depending on the affected tissues. For instance, if found in blood lead may damage red blood cells and cause anemia.
Long-Term Lead Poisoning
Chronic exposure to lead in children leads to decreased bone and muscle growth, poor muscle coordination, serious damage to the nervous system, kidneys and hearing. A child may develop speech and language problems, seizures and sometimes there is evident developmental delay.
Irritability, behavioral problems, difficulty concentrating, headaches, sluggishness and fatigue may also occur. The exposed individuals may lose their appetite, feel nauseated and vomit. Metallic taste in mouth, constipation and symptoms as well as signs of anemia also point to long-term lead poisoning.
The Occurrence of Lead Poisoning
Children used to develop lead poisoning after being exposed to lead-based paint. Fortunately, since manufacturing of such pains was banned, today this way of poisoning is practically impossible.
Lead can be found in contaminated soil. Such soil can easily introduce lead dust into the nearby homes. Furthermore, lead can be found in water running through old lead pipes or faucets in case the pipes start to break down. It is also possible to introduce lead into one's body if the person consumes food that have been stored in bowls glazed or painted with lead. Lead is also found in some toys, jewelry and may be a component of certain sport objects. Finally, folk and home remedies such as greta or azarcon contain lead. Intake of too much of these remedies is another way of developing lead poisoning.
All in all, if there is a chance one has suffered lead poisoning, he/she must be immediately transferred into a hospital. After testing, doctors will decide whether there is need for treatment and what approach will be used.