Frequent question: What causes high lead levels in babies?

Children can get lead poisoning by chewing on pieces of peeling paint or by swallowing house dust or soil that contains tiny chips of the leaded paint from these buildings. Lead can also be in air, water and food. Lead levels in the air have gone down greatly since lead was taken out of gasoline in the 1970s.

What is a dangerous lead level in babies?

There is no safe blood level of lead. However, a level of 5 mcg/dL is used to indicate a possibly unsafe level for children. Children whose blood tests at those levels should be tested periodically. A child whose levels become too high — generally 45 mcg/dL or higher — should be treated.

What does high lead levels cause?

Exposure to high levels of lead may cause anemia, weakness, and kidney and brain damage. Very high lead exposure can cause death. Lead can cross the placental barrier, which means pregnant women who are exposed to lead also expose their unborn child. Lead can damage a developing baby’s nervous system.

How do I know if my baby has lead poisoning?

Symptoms of acute lead poisoning include sickness and diarrhoea, a metallic taste, lack of appetite and stomach pain, tiredness or drowsiness and high blood pressure. Chronic lead poisoning symptoms include tiredness, headache, sleep disturbance, anorexia, abdominal pain, constipation, irritability and muscle weakness.

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What birth defects are caused by lead?

Exposure to high levels of lead before and during pregnancy can cause:

  • Fertility problems, like reduced sperm count or abnormal sperm. …
  • High blood pressure (also called hypertension). …
  • Problems with the development of your baby’s brain and nervous system. …
  • Premature birth. …
  • Low birthweight. …
  • Miscarriage.

What is a normal lead level in a baby?

The average lead test result for young children is about 1.4 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL). 5-14 • Your child’s lead level is high. A result of 5 µg/dL or higher requires action. Your doctor or nurse will talk with you about your child’s diet, growth and development, and possible sources of lead.

Does the body get rid of lead?

As the body naturally gets rid of the lead, the level of lead in the blood falls. Kids with severe cases and extremely high lead levels in their blood will be hospitalized to get a medicine called a chelator. The chelator attaches to the lead and makes the lead weaker so the body can get rid of it naturally.

What happens when a child is exposed to lead?

Exposure to lead can seriously harm a child’s health, including damage to the brain and nervous system, slowed growth and development, learning and behavior problems, and hearing and speech problems. Lead paint or dust are not the only ways children can come into contact with lead.

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