Who is at risk from lead poisoning?
Lead poisoning can occur in any person who has high levels of lead in the body. Lead can enter the body if anyone eats, drinks, or breathes in things that have high concentrations of lead. Lead poisoning is more of a concern in small children, but it can affect adults as well.
How can this poisoning occur?
There are a number of ways in which this poisoning can occur, such as:
Other than the above, lead is present in soil, in cosmetics, and also in certain foods. Ceramic containers and china are also known to have lead in them. Use of such containers and dishes can result in the lead being transferred to the food or drink, and can thus enter our bodies, leading to lead poisoning.
What are the signs of lead poisoning in children?
In children, some of the signs associated with lead poisoning can include:
What about adults?
Some of the signs associated with lead poisoning in adults include:
Are children at higher risk of contamination than adults?
Children are at a much higher risk of lead poisoning from lead paint than adults. The younger the child, the higher are the chances of them getting lead poisoning from lead paint. Lead dust can settle on children’s hands and can enter their bodies during normal hand to mouth activity.
Small children are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, and lead paint is the leading cause for lead poisoning in children. Chipped paint and flakes of lead paint can be eaten by small children, which could cause lead paint based poisoning. Small children have a tendency to put everything in their mouth. If they chew or lick on anything that has lead paint, then the lead can enter their bodies and cause lead poisoning.
What sorts of problems can this poisoning cause in children?
Some of the possible problems that can be caused in children through lead poisoning include:
Should I get my child tested? And what would be considered an unsafe level of lead in the system of the child?
Most of the symptoms associated with lead poisoning can be confused with other childhood problems and thus lead poisoning is often difficult to detect. If a child is suffering from lead poisoning, he or she may appear to be quite normal and may not even show many symptoms. Thus it is essential to get children younger than six years of age tested for lead poisoning, especially if you live in a home that is made before 1978, as it is more likely to have lead paint.
Children who are below one year old are the most susceptible to lead poisoning. Every child should be tested for lead in the blood at the age of one, and if possible, at the age of two again. A simple blood test can tell you the exact levels of lead in children. Less than 10 micrograms of lead per deciliter of blood (10ug/DL) is the acceptable amount of lead levels in children.
10 to 19ug/DL of lead concentrations indicate mild lead poisoning; 20-44 indicates mild lead poisoning, whereas between 45-70ug/DL lead concentration in blood indicates a severe case of lead poisoning in children. If any child tests at more than 70ug/DL of lead in the blood, then it is considered as an emergency. The child will have to be hospitalized and will not be able to return home unless all lead paint is removed from the home and it is made free of lead contamination.
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