Lead Poisoning Symptoms
What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?
Medical Author: Benjamin C. Wedro, MD, FACEP, FAAEM
Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, lead poisoning affects 250,000 children under 5 years of age in the United States. Furthermore, there is no evidence that the rates of exposure of children to lead is decreasing.
Lead gradually accumulates in the body due to long-term exposure in the environment. It is especially dangerous to newborns, infants, and small children because the effects on the developing brain may be permanent and irreversible. Initial symptoms in infants and children include:
- abdominal pain,
- vomiting, and
These initial symptoms may be initially misdiagnosed since most health care professionals don't think of lead poisoning as a possibility. But when weight loss, sluggishness, and slow growth appear as longer lasting symptoms, then the potential for many unusual diagnoses exists and lead is a prime candidate.