Initially, lead poisoning can be hard to detect — even people who seem healthy can have high blood levels of lead. Signs and symptoms usually don't appear until dangerous amounts have accumulated.

Symptoms in children

The signs and symptoms of lead poisoning in children may include:

  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Learning difficulties

Symptoms in newborns

Babies who are exposed to lead before birth may experience:

  • Learning difficulties
  • Slowed growth

Symptoms in adults

Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults may include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Declines in mental functioning
  • Pain, numbness or tingling of the extremities
  • Muscular weakness
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Memory loss
  • Mood disorders
  • Reduced sperm count, abnormal sperm
  • Miscarriage or premature birth in pregnant women
Mar. 12, 2011