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Lead Poisoning

more about Lead Poisoning

  • Lead is found in multiple products including paints, pottery, storage batteries, solder, gasoline, plumbing supplies, and some traditional medications.  Lead Poisoning usually occurs from repeated exposure over time.  Lead interferes with blood cell formation, affects the nervous system and gastrointestinal tract.  Acute poisoning occurs when an object containing lead is consumed (such as fishing weight).

  • Headache
  • Irritability
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Wrist drop
  • Learning problems in children

  • Blood lead levels of:
    1. 10-25 ug/dL causes behavioral problems in children
    2. 25-50 ug/dL causes headaches, irritability and may cause nerve problems
    3. 50-70 ug/dL causes more toxicity
    4. 70-100 ug/dL causes severe poisoning -- Seizures and Coma occur
  • Microcytic anemia with basophilil stippling may be present.
  • Elevated free erythrocyte protoporphyrin

  • Maintain airway
  • Acute poisoning (e.g., swallowed a fishing weight) -- induce Diarrhea, irrigate bowel, administer endoscopy or surgery to remove the object.  This will prevent further absorption.
  • Severe toxicity -- administer edetate Calcium disodium intravenously; some physicians will also add Dimercaprol intramuscularly
  • Moderate toxicity -- edetate Calcium disodium intravenously or dimercaptosuccinic acid

  • Lead sources at work should be investigated
  • Homes should be evaluated for lead-based paints.  If found, this should be removed and replaced.
  • Note: it is against the law for employed workers who have lead exposure at work to be treated with medications just to keep the lead levels in their blood down.  The source of the lead toxicity must be removed from the work place.

more about Lead Poisoning

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