Is your home safe? The walls and water in your home could be harboring a deadly substance that could cause great danger and even death. This substance enters the bloodstream and inhibits the productions of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is needed by red cells to transport oxygen. It locks onto and inactivates essential enzymes in the brain and nervous system. If not caught on time it will slowly kill you. What is this deadly substance? It is highly toxic lead. Is your family a victim of lead poisoning?
SYMPTOMS OF LEAD POISONING
Lead poisoning symptoms in adults include metallic taste in mouth, personality changes, headache, loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, constipation, blue-grey line along gums in the mouth, pregnancy problems, reproductive problems, high blood pressure, digestive problems, nerve disorders, cataracts, memory problems, concentration problems, muscle pain and joint pain.
Lead poisoning symptoms in children include slowed growth, headaches, hearing problems, brain damage, nerve damage behavior problems, learning problems, hyperactivity, vomiting, staggering, convulsions, drowsiness and confusion.
Lead is extremely dangerous even in small amounts. Small amounts can cause irreversible damage to the brain. High levels of lead in the body can lead to comatose, convulsions, mental retardation and death.
TREATMENT FOR LEAD POISONING
The first treatment for lead poisoning is to stop the source of exposure. This is critical for the reduction of the lead levels. The longer the person is exposed to lead, the more damage to the person’s health will occur. If the source of lead cannot be removed alternatives must be sought to reduce the likelihood that the lead will continue to cause problems. Examples of this can be to seal in, rather than remove, old lead paint. Your local health department can be contacted to possibly recommend resources to identify and reduce lead in your home or community. Classes I and II lead levels may be reduced sufficiently by stopping exposure.
More severe cases may require chelation therapy in addition to the removal from lead exposure. Chelation therapy consists of taking a medicine that is a chelating agent. This medicine combines with the lead so that it is excreted from the body. Class III and most of Class IV cases can be treated with an oral drug called succimer or dimercaptosuccinic acid.
Lead levels that are greater than Class IV or V are treated with a chemical called ethylenediaminetetraccetic acid or EDTA. EDTA is given by injections into your veins and may be combined with a drug called dimercaprol. It may take more than one treatment depending on the level of lead. This treatment may not reverse the damage that has already been caused by severe lead intoxication.
PREVENTION OF LEAD POISONING
Simple measures can be taken to reduce or offer protection from lead poisoning. Have a professional check your home for lead hazards. Get a lead inspection and risk assessment done by the appropriate professionals. Although home lead tests are available they are not recommended by the EPA due to reliability issues. A lead inspection is limiting due to it only checking for lead presence in painted surfaces in your and home. It does not determine whether the paint has dangerous levels of lead. Risk assessment is a better alternative because it will tell you if dangerous lead sources such as peeling paint are present in your home. It can also tell you how to reduce or control the hazards.
Awareness of lead poisoning is the key to surviving its deadly effects. It is important to have your home checked out by a professional. If symptoms of lead poisoning are present seek medical attention promptly. It could be the difference between life and death.