What Are the Signs of Lead Poisoning?

What Are the Signs of Lead Poisoning?Lead poisoning is the result of lead building up in the body. This can happen over months or years, and the consequences of lead poisoning is especially devastating for children and infants. Even small levels of lead can be harmful to small children, and high levels can be fatal. Lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults, and the early symptoms can be difficult to detect.

According to Medscape, lead is the most commonly encountered toxic metal. Further, approximately four million households in the United States have children in them that are being exposed to lead. Although lead-based paint has been banned since the late 1970s, it still remains in many older homes and apartments. Lead can also contaminate the soil and water supply from lead pipes or older plumbing fixtures.

Even so, some toys still manage to make it on the market with lead paint. The CPSC recalled a toy science kit last year for violating the federal lead paint ban, noting “lead is toxic if ingested by young children and can cause adverse health issues.” In early February 2022, the California Attorney General’s Office issued a warning about lead levels in certain candies that are sold in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Lead exposure and poisoning continues to be such a concern that the Center for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) recently updated its blood lead reference value (BLRV) to detect which children have higher levels of lead in the bloodstream:

In 2012, the blood lead reference value (BLRV) for children corresponding to the 97.5 percentile was established to be 5 micrograms per deciliter (µg/dL) based NHANES data from 2007-2010. Prior to this current update, blood lead levels below 5 μg/dL may, or may not, have been reported to parents. The new lower blood lead reference value of 3.5 μg/dL means that more children could be identified as having lead exposure allowing parents, doctors, public health officials, and communities to act earlier to reduce the child’s future exposure to lead.

Understanding and recognizing the signs of lead poisoning may help save your or your child’s life. Because symptoms of lead poisoning generally do not show until dangerous amounts have already accumulated, it is important to ensure that your home and work area is safe.

Symptoms of lead poisoning

According to the Mayo Clinic, lead poisoning causes a variety of different symptoms in children, including:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Appetite and weight loss
  • Constipation
  • Development delays
  • Fatigue
  • Hearing loss
  • Irritability
  • Learning difficulties
  • Pica (eating paint chips or other non-food items)
  • Seizures
  • Vomiting

If a newborn was exposed to lead in the womb, the infant can also show symptoms, including premature birth, low birth weight, and slowed growth. Adults may show different symptoms of lead poisoning, including high blood pressure, joint and muscle pain, cognitive issues, and abdominal pain. Pregnant women should avoid lead, as overexposure can also lead to miscarriage.

If you are concerned you or your child may have been exposed to lead, particularly if you are at high risk, your provider may perform a blood test.

Who is at high risk for lead poisoning?

According to the CDC, certain populations are at a higher risk for lead poisoning. These include:

  • Children, especially those who live at the poverty level and those who live in housing built before 1978
  • Children under age six
  • Pregnant women
  • Refugees and international adoptees, where regulations may not be stringent
  • Certain industry workers, including home renovators and those who work in battery manufacturing

If you or your child were diagnosed with lead poisoning, it is vital to find out the cause, as well as get proper medical treatment as soon as possible. Experienced attorneys can help.

At McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP our Los Angeles personal injury attorneys are dedicated to protecting the rights of the injured throughout Southern California. We fight for the compensation you deserve for your pain and losses. Let us fight for you. Contact us at your convenience to talk to us about your case. To set up a free case consultation, give us a call today at 310-474-1582 or use our contact form to leave us a message.

Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.