Lead poisoning

13 June 2018
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13 June 2018, Comments: 0

Lead poisoning is considered as a serious and deadly form of poisoning. It is important to note that lead is a highly lethal metal and potent poison. Poisoning can occur once lead accumulates in the body.

It is present in lead-based paints including those in the walls of old houses and toys. Lead is also present in:

  • Contaminated dust
  • Art supplies
  • Some gasoline products

Lead poisoning generally develops over a span of months or years. The poisoning can be treated, but any damage that already developed could not be reversed.

Lead poisoning

The indications of lead poisoning tend to vary and can affect different body parts.

What are the signs?

The indications of lead poisoning tend to vary and can affect different body parts. In most cases, the poisoning builds up steadily. It follows repeated contact to small traces of lead.

Indications of repeated exposure to lead include the following:

  • Abdominal pain and cramping
  • Constipation
  • Aggressiveness
  • Sleeping problems
  • Irritability
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Appetite loss
  • Loss of developmental skills among children
  • High blood pressure
  • Memory loss
  • Tingling or numbness in the extremities
  • Anemia
  • Kidney dysfunction

In case of a large, toxic dose of lead, it can result to serious symptoms such as:

  • Vomiting
  • Intense abdominal pain and cramps
  • Seizures
  • Muscular weakness
  • Stumbling while walking
  • Coma
  • Encephalopathy

Management of lead poisoning

The initial step in managing lead poisoning is to pinpoint and remove the source. In case it cannot be removed, it must be sealed.

In serious cases, chelation therapy is utilized. This form of treatment binds to lead that has accumulated in the body and eliminated via the urine.

Activated charcoal is also utilized to bind the lead in the digestive tract as well as promote elimination via bowel movement.

Remember though that even with treatment, it is difficult to reverse any of the effects from chronic exposure.


An adult who sustained moderate exposure can recover without the development of any complications.

Among children, the recovery period might take some time. Even low exposure to lead can lead to lasting intellectual disability in some cases.

Disclaimer / More Information

The information posted on this page on lead poisoning is for learning and educational purposes only. To learn to recognize the signs and how it is treated, register for first aid training at one of our training centers located throughout Canada. The training centers are in Edmonton, Calgary, Vancouver, Kelowna, Saskatoon, Victoria, Surrey, Mississauga, Winnipeg, Red Deer, Toronto, Ottawa and Halifax.

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