310,000 kids have unsafe levels of lead in blood annually: Do you know the symptoms?

CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) - The World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have repeatedly warned about the dangers of lead exposure and lead poisoning especially for children.

Each year in the United States, 310,000 1- to 5-year-old kids are found to have unsafe levels of lead in their blood, which can lead to a wide range of symptoms, from headaches and stomach pain to behavioral problems and anemia.

Lead that is ingested can impact several areas of the body -- from the brain to the reproductive organs. At the most extreme levels of exposure, it can lead to coma and death. Exposure to lead can happen in a number of ways but it is most commonly associated with lead in water and lead paint.

Lead can not be absorbed through the skin, it must be ingested.

Lead poisoning symptoms in children

  • Developmental delay
  • Learning difficulties
  • Irritability
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Sluggishness and fatigue
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Constipation
  • Hearing loss
  • Seizures
  • Eating things, such as paint chips, that aren't food (pica)

Lead poisoning symptoms in newborns

  • Be born prematurely
  • Have lower birth weight
  • Have slowed growth

Lead poisoning symptoms in adults

Although children are primarily at risk, lead poisoning is also dangerous for adults. Signs and symptoms in adults might include:

  • High blood pressure
  • Joint and muscle pain
  • Difficulties with memory or concentration
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Mood disorders
  • Reduced sperm count and abnormal sperm
  • Miscarriage, stillbirth or premature birth in pregnant women

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