Other Toxic Metals

Aluminium  |  Cadmium  |  Selenium  |  Antimony  |  Arsenic

Lead poisoning may be caused by exposure (e.g. chewing or ingestion) to deteriorating lead paint in older houses. Occupational exposure to lead in painting, smelting, firearms instruction, automotive repair, brass or copper foundries, printing, battery manufacturing, mining, brass foundry, gasoline, glass, and bridge, tunnel and elevated highway construction may also occur.

Another cause of lead poisoning is through the contamination of water from lead pipes.

Additional causes of lead poisoning include calcium products, progressive hair dyes, kajal, surma, kohl, and foreign digestive remedies.

Lead is stored in the bone but may affect any organ system.

The effects of lead poisoning varies depending on the age of the individual and the amount of exposure.

In children

Symptoms vary depending upon the degree of exposure to lead. Some affected individuals may not have any noticeable symptoms. Symptoms usually develop over a three to six week time period.

Most common side effects:

  • Less playful, clumsier, irritable, and sluggish (lethargic), headaches, vomiting, abdominal pain, lack of appetite, constipation, slurred speech, changes in kidney function, unusually high amounts of protein in the blood, and unusually pale skin, anemia.
  • Impaired ability to coordinate voluntary movements, brain damage, seizures, convulsions, swelling of the optic nerve, and/or impaired consciousness.
  • Some affected children experience learning or behavioral problems such as mental retardation and selective deficits in language, cognitive function, balance, behavior, and school performance. In some cases, symptoms may be life-threatening.

In adults

Most common side effects:

  • High blood pressure and damage to the reproductive organs.
  • Additional symptoms may include fever, headaches, fatigue, sluggishness , vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain, constipation, joint pain, loss of recently acquired skills, incoordination, listlessness, difficulty sleeping, irritability, altered consciousness, hallucinations, and/or seizures, anemia, peripheral neuropathy, and, in some cases, brain damage.

Rare side effects:

  • Decreased muscle strength and endurance; kidney disease; wrist drop; and behavioral changes such as hostility, depression, and/or anxiety.
  • In some cases, symptoms may be life-threatening.

Other Toxic Metals

Aluminium  |  Cadmium  |  Selenium  |  Antimony  |  Arsenic

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