Lead Exposure and Its Irreversible Damage

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170317-F-SB162-0005Past issues with the water supply in Flint, Michigan, have once again brought the dangers of lead exposure into the forefront. Lead poisoning has been an issue for thousands of years, but it was only in 1978 that the US ban lead in paint and other consumer goods, as its effects were becoming better understood.

Symptoms of Lead Exposure

One of the reasons lead is so dangerous is that low-level exposure does not create any obvious symptoms. This usually means that the exposure continues, which can have a considerable effect on the nervous system and the brain, especially in developing children. Some lead exposure symptoms in children include:

  • Short attention span
  • Lower intelligence
  • Difficulty with fine motor skills
  • Violent behavior

Such issues affect children to a greater degree because it affects their development. Plus, the general nature of the symptoms means that the exposure may go undetected for years unless it is specifically tested.

Sources of Lead

Despite the banning, there are still many sources of lead present in many places, including untreated water supplies, such as:

  • Lead water pipes, paints, and other goods, such as toys
  • Soil contamination
  • Jewelry
  • Canned goods soldered with lead

Dangerous Levels of Lead Exposure

While no amount of exposure is considered safe, the CDC has determined that any amount above 5 micrograms per deciliter is considered dangerous. However, even lower amounts are considered dangerous and treatment is recommended.

Treatment of Lead Exposure

To resist low-level exposure, a diet that is high in iron, Vitamin C, and calcium helps to prevent the absorption of lead to a certain degree. To remove the lead in the body, chelation therapy is recommended, which is a chemical injected into the body that binds to the lead and helps the body to pass it through, generally through urination.

Unfortunately, there is no known way to reverse the effects of lead exposure. Once the damage has been done, there is no way to correct the damage.

Testing for Lead Exposure

If you believe that you, your employees, or family might have been exposed to lead, then it is important to undergo tests immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to show up if you suspect lead poisoning, which may occur anywhere there is lead present. The sooner the lead is detected, the faster the treatments can commence, which may help prevent damage.

For children, it is recommended that testing may begin even if they are still infants. Bear in mind, however, that blood testing may not be enough if the child has been exposed for long periods of time because the lead will progress into the bones and organs.

If you suspect that lead might be present in your home, office, or facility, please call the experts at Brickley Environmental.

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