Overview

Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body, often over months or years. Even small amounts of lead can cause serious health problems. Children younger than 6 years are especially vulnerable to lead poisoning, which can severely affect mental and physical development. At very high levels, lead poisoning can be fatal.

Lead-based paint and lead-contaminated dust in older buildings are the most common sources of lead poisoning in children. Other sources include contaminated air, water and soil. Adults who work with batteries, do home renovations or work in auto repair shops also might be exposed to lead.

There is treatment for lead poisoning, but taking some simple precautions can help protect you and your family from lead exposure before harm is done.

Dec. 06, 2016
References
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  3. AskMayoExpert. Chelation therapy. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2016.
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  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.
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  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.