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.
Does lead poisoning affect children more?
Infants and young children are more likely to be exposed to lead than are older children. They might chew paint that flakes off walls and woodwork, and their hands can be contaminated with lead dust. Young children also absorb lead more easily, and it’s more harmful for them than it is for adults and older children.
What can high lead levels do to a child?
High lead levels in the body can cause problems with the brain, kidneys, and bone marrow (soft tissue inside bones). Symptoms of high lead levels can include belly pain, headaches, vomiting, confusion, muscle weakness, seizures, hair loss or anemia (low red blood cell count).
What does lead do to a child’s brain?
Even when exposed to small amounts of lead levels, children may appear inattentive, hyperactive, and irritable. Children with greater lead levels may also have problems with learning and reading, delayed growth, and hearing loss. At high levels, lead can cause permanent brain damage and even death.
Why is lead so harmful to children?
Lead is a neurotoxin. It is much more dangerous for children than adults because it affects kids’ developing brains and nervous systems. The younger the child, the more harm lead can cause. Even small amounts of lead exposure add up over time, increasing risk of developmental effects.
What happens if your child tested positive for lead?
Lead can harm a child’s growth, behavior, and ability to learn. The lower the test result, the better. Most lead poisoning occurs when children lick, swallow, or breathe in dust from old lead paint. Most homes built before 1978 have old lead paint, often under newer paint.
Can your 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 kinds of disorders are linked to lead exposure?
High lead exposure was also linked to a modestly greater long-term risk for developing drug, tobacco and alcohol addiction, alongside depression, anxiety, obsessive-compulsive disorder, mania, and/or schizophrenia.
Can lead cause behavior problems?
U.S. studies have reported that lead exposure causes what psychologists call externalizing behavior problems, such as aggressiveness and bullying, which may lead to truancy and even jail time as children get older.
How long does lead poisoning stay in your system?
Once in the body, lead travels in the blood to soft tissues such as the liver, kidneys, lungs, brain, spleen, muscles, and heart. The half-life of lead varies from about a month in blood, 1-1.5 months in soft tissue, and about 25-30 years in bone (ATSDR 2007).