Lead is a naturally occurring element like mercury and aluminum. The scientific symbol that represents Lead is the symbol Pb. Inside your body, Lead is very poisonous. Lead becomes Lead Poison and starts to cause harm when high levels of Lead accumulate in the body. Lead is a neurotoxic metallic element that can be absorbed by the body. Lead absorption occurs primarily through the lungs and stomach. Lead Poisoning (Plumbism) affects the brain and kidneys principally, but can affect other organs and tissues as well. Because of the possibility of permanent impairment, Lead Poisoning is particularly dangerous during the critical development periods of infants and young children under the age of 7 years. Young children absorb fifty percent of all Lead that is ingested, while adults absorb only ten percent. Children with Lead Poisoning have impaired learning capabilities in almost all cases. If children get Lead in their bodies, it is very dangerous because their brains are growing. Even long-term exposure to very low levels of Lead can harm mental development in children, and has been associated with decreased IQ and behavioral problems. Lead Poisoning will give children problems with reading and difficulty remembering, thus causing significant problems in school and at home. If Lead Poisoning is suspected, the patient needs medical attention urgently.
Consider the following sources of Lead:
- paint chips
Consider the following list of just a few of the possible symptoms associated with Lead Poisoning:
- abdominal pain/cramping (usually the first sign of acute poisoning)
- aggressive behavior
- loss of recently acquired developmental skills (in young children)
- decreased appetite and energy
- poor sleeping, headaches
- reproductive problems
- wrist or foot weakness
- high blood pressure
- kidney failure
Very high levels of Lead may cause acute encephalopathy with vomiting, staggering gait, muscle weakness, seizures, or coma.