Lead Poisoning Signs Prevent:

Ways to Prevent Lead Poisoning

How to Recognize Signs of Lead Poisoning

By Dr. Ben Kim

Lead poisoning has become less of a health threat to the general population since lead-based paint and leaded gasoline were phased out in the 1970s. Still, those who work around lead, pregnant women, infants, and young children continue to be at significant risk of suffering from mild to moderate cases of lead poisoning. Unborn babies, infants, and young children are especially at risk because exposure to even small amounts can lead to permanent damage. Lead can be absorbed through the placenta and breast milk.

Lead Poisoning Signs

The most common symptoms of gradual, long term lead poisoning are as follows:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Abdominal pain
  • Constipation
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeplessness
  • Irritability
  • Headaches
  • Anemia
  • Mental impairment
  • Hearing problems
  • Stunted growth
  • Hyperactivity

Short-term exposure to high levels of lead can result in diarrhea, vomiting, convulsions, coma, and even death.

Sources of Lead

Lead occurs naturally in the environment. The reality is that every living creature is exposed to small amounts of lead through household dust, food, drinking water, air, soil, and a variety of consumer products. All we can do to protect ourselves against lead poisoning is to minimize our exposure to it.

Ways To Minimize Exposure To Lead

  1. Don't wear outdoor shoes indoors. And if you walk barefoot outdoors, give your feet a good washing when you come indoors. Lead found in soil can be carried indoors by people who don't take off their shoes and by people who walk barefoot outdoors. If you think that this isn't a valid point since human beings have lived in harmony with nature for much of the history of our world, remember that the industrial revolution added and continues to add unquantifiable amounts of lead to our environment. Also, please keep in mind that babies and young children have a breathing zone that is close to the ground and are constantly putting things into their mouths.

  2. Give your pets' feet , legs, and undersides a good rubdown with a coarse towel after taking them outdoors for the reason mentioned above.

  3. Wash your children's hands on a regular basis, especially before eating meals and snacks. Children may inhale or ingest lead dust that settles on their hands through contact with everyday objects like toys, carpet, and furniture.

  4. Wash toys that may have been put into your children's mouths, especially if these toys are in contact with a dusty surface.

  5. Use a wet cloth or paper towel to regularly clean all surfaces that your children come into contact with on a regular basis.

  6. Use a vacuum cleaner that utilizes a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter.

  7. Use only cold water from your faucets for cooking and drinking. Lead can enter the water supply from lead solder found in plumbing, lead service connections, or lead pipes in homes and buildings. Cold water is much less likely to leech lead from these sources than hot water is.

  8. If a faucet has not been used for several hours, let the cold water run until it gets as cold as possible - anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes in most cases - before collecting it for use.

  9. If possible, use a water filter to ensure reduction or elimination of lead in the water that you use to cook and drink. A simple Brita water filter can remove up to 93% of the lead found in tap water.

  10. If you have to sand or strip old paint that may contain lead, be sure to use a high quality mask to prevent inhalation of lead particles. Most indoor and outdoor paints that were manufactured before 1950 contained significant amounts of lead.

  11. If you have children, be sure that they do not spend regular time in rooms that contain inexpensive, horizontal plastic mini-blinds that have been made in Asia or Mexico, as these types of blinds stand a good chance of containing lead. These blinds should be removed from child care centers, schools, your living environment, and any other locations that your children spend time in.

  12. Don't use crystal glasses to drink out of. This point is especially relevant to pregnant women and children. When leaded crystal comes into contact with liquids, especially those that are acidic (some fruit juices, soft drinks, port, wine), lead can leech into the liquids.

  13. Pregnant women and children should not be exposed to burning candles that may contain lead in their wicks.

  14. Parents should be aware that some brands of soft vinyl lunch boxes can potentially expose their children to dangerous levels of lead.

  15. To prevent inhalation of dangerous lead vapors, it is best not to participate in hobbies that involve the use of lead solder. Examples include making stained glass, lead shot (small beads of lead), and lead fishing weights.

  16. Beware of using glassware and pottery that are made in third world countries for storing, preparing, or serving food. Some of them are covered with a glaze that can contain lead, and can ultimately bleed lead into food.

  17. People who work in industries that are known to have a higher-than-average exposure to lead dust should make every effort to wear appropriate breathing masks while working, wash their hands before every meal, and shower as soon as they return home from work. Lead dust can easily cling to one's hair, skin, and clothing. Work clothes should be put in the laundry room as soon as possible, away from people, especially children.

If you suspect that you are suffering from a mild to moderate case of chronic lead poisoning, you can ask your doctor to do a simple blood test that will reveal your lead status.

If your lead level is higher than is considered to be healthy but your doctor doesn't believe that you are in danger, here are three steps that you can take to help lower the amount of lead in your body:

  1. Eat cilantro on a regular basis. Although I have not been able to find any published studies that support the claim that cilantro can help to expel heavy metals like lead from the body, from an experiential viewpoint, I have found it to be helpful in some cases. There's certainly no harm in adding cilantro to one's diet - it is abundant in chlorophyll and contains vitamin C, vitamin E, iron, calcium, and niacin.

  2. Take chlorella on a regular basis. Like cilantro, chlorella appears to have the ability to mobilize and eliminate lead from the body. Most high quality super green food products come with chlorella.

  3. Heed the major ways of minimizing your exposure to lead, as listed above.

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