Last Updated : 3/1/2010
Dr. Ira Shah
What is the

lead exposure


Lead is a potent poison that can affect individuals at any age. Common sources of exposure to lead are lead point and lead contained in water and soil. Excessive lead exposure can have a wide range of effects on a child's development and behaviour.

What are the

symptoms of lead exposure


There are several symptoms due to lead poisoning. Symptoms related to behaviour are hyperactivity, irritability, learning and reading problems. Children may appear inattentive, have delayed growth and hearing loss. High levels of lead can cause permanent brain damage and sometimes even death.

Can lead poisoning be prevented?
Parent should make sure that their homes are free of lead (avoid lead containing paints) and community should ensure that the lead level in their drinking water is within permissible limits. Child should not eat mud or chew on lead pencils.

How is lead poisoning diagnosed?

Diagnosis of lead poisoning

can be established by estimating the lead levels in the blood. If there is a suspicion of exposure to lead then the child should be screened for exposure to lead. Inexpensive blood test can determine whether child has a dangerous level of lead or not. This test can be obtained through a physician or public health agency. Early identification is more important to reduce the risk that children will suffer permanent damage.

What is the

treatment for lead poisoning


Lead can be removed from the body with the help of various chelating agents such as Bal, DMSA and British anti-lewisite. However they need to be given under a doctor's supervision.

Contributor Information and Disclosures

Dr. Ira Shah
Consultant Pediatrician, Nanavati Hospital, Mumbai, India

First Created : 1/6/2002


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