Treatment

The first step in treating lead poisoning is to remove the source of the contamination. If you can't remove lead from your environment, you might be able to reduce the likelihood that it will cause problems.

For instance, sometimes it's better to seal in rather than remove old lead paint. Your local health department can recommend ways to identify and reduce lead in your home and community.

For children and adults with relatively low lead levels, simply avoiding exposure to lead might be enough to reduce blood lead levels.

Treating higher levels

For more-severe cases, your doctor might recommend:

  • Chelation therapy. In this treatment, a medication given by mouth binds with the lead so that it's excreted in urine. Chelation therapy might be recommended for children with a blood level of 45 mcg/dL or greater and adults with high blood levels of lead or symptoms of lead poisoning.
  • EDTA chelation therapy. Doctors treat adults with lead levels greater than 45 mcg/dL of blood and children who can't tolerate the drug used in conventional chelation therapy most commonly with a chemical called calcium disodium ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA). EDTA is given by injection.
Dec. 06, 2016
References
  1. Lowry JA. Childhood lead poisoning: Clinical manifestations and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  2. Lead: Prevention tips. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/tips.htm. Accessed Sept. 21, 2016.
  3. AskMayoExpert. Chelation therapy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
  4. Lowry JA. Childhood lead poisoning: Management. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  5. AAP Council on Environmental Health. Prevention of childhood lead toxicity. Pediatrics. 2016;138:e20161493.
  6. Lead poisoning and health. World Health Organization. http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs379/en/. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  7. Lead toxicity: What are the physiologic effects of lead exposure? Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. https://www.atsdr.cdc.gov/csem/csem.asp?csem=7&po=10. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
  8. Goldman RH, et al. Adult occupational lead poisoning. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 23, 2016.
  9. Lead: Protect your family from exposures to lead. Environmental Protection Agency. https://www.epa.gov/lead/protect-your-family-exposures-lead. Accessed Sept. 23, 2016.