Healthy Kids: Lead Poisoning
Lead Poisoning: Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment:
- Lead is a naturally occurring heavy metal.
- All biological systems in the body can be damaged by lead.
- Greatest risk: Children and unborn children.
- Lead prevents normal functioning of vital enzymes.
- Lead can reduce the total volume of brain tissue.
Statistics on Lead Poisoning:
- Lead was first mined in 6500 BC.
- Lead’s negative health effects known in 1st Century AD.
- 24 million American homes have unsafe lead content.
- 500,000 children < 5 yrs have toxic lead levels.
- 3 million workers are at risk for toxic lead exposure
- Lead-based pain was banned in 1978
- Enters through the mouth or inhaled.
- Enters through splits in skin or mucous membranes.
- Once inside the body, can damage all body organs.
- Children < 6 yrs are more sensitive to lead.
- Irreversibly damages mental and physical development.
Why are children at greater risk?
- Pick up lead contaminants in the soil and consume it.
- Closer to the ground level and breathe in dust more.
- Absorb lead in their stomach 10 times more than adults.
- Because they are developing, lead gets incorporated more.
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning in Children:
- Slowed body growth
- Reduced IQ
- Loss of skills
- Loss of appetite and weight loss
- Abdominal pain
- General fatigue
- Hearing loss and reduction in other senses
Symptoms of Lead Poisoning in Adults:
- Abdominal pain
- Raised blood pressure
- Joint and muscle pain
- Tingling, pain, numbness in the extremities
- Memory loss and decline in mental functions
- Unusual taste in the mouth
- Difficulty sleeping
- Mood disorders
- Reduction in sperm volume and quality
- Miscarriage or premature birth
Causes of Lead Poisoning:
- Burning fossil fuels
- Batteries, pottery, pipes, solder, cosmetics and roofing
- Soil, dust, toys, cosmetics, stained glass, and pottery
Traditional medicines that contain lead:
- Daw tway – Thailand
- Ghasard – Indian
- Ba-baw-san – Chinese
- Litargirio – Dominican Republic
- Greta (azarcon) – Spanish
- Run water
- Avoid soil play for children
- Diet rich in calcium and iron
- Install a filter
- Washing hands frequently
- Cleaning often to avoid dust
- Containers should be lead-free
- Avoid canned foods from other countries.