Lead is a metal which at one time was widely used in households. Old homes still have water supply system made of copper. For soldering of copper pipes which were laid to circulate water inside the home lead was extensively used. Similarly outlet or waste pipes of wash basins and toilet seats were made of lead. In addition, lead was extensively used in paints used in the household. Lead is a main component of batteries and toys. Lead also enters the environment through petrol, though now lead free fuel is available, reducing its accumulation in the atmosphere.
In case of the households where there are small kids between the ages of six months to three years, special care needs to be taken to ensure that entry of lead is avoided as far as possible as small kids get affected by lead the most. When lead enters the body of a kid, in worst circumstances it could lead to even retardation of the brain. If your child is less than three years of age, and in case of doubt about the lead poisoning in your kid, get him tested by specialist doctors.
How lead affects the body: Lead can enter the body of child by way of swallowing, inhaling or absorption by skin. In case a large quantity of lead enters the system of the kid, it could result in development of toxicity, and exposure for a continuous period of time could lead to chronic toxicity. Just like other metals which are good for humans, lead also travels through the system in the blood stream. When it comes in contact with red blood cells, they get damaged, resulting in reduced supply of oxygen to the nervous system. Ultimately lead, which is circulating in the body, ends up in bones and reduces absorption of calcium, all this leading to weak bones and teeth, muscle contraction and improper functioning of the nervous system.
Long term effects of lead poisoning: Other problems that could be faced by the kids are poor muscular coordination, damage to kidneys, nervous system and hearing problem. The child may develop problem of speech coordination and, in acute cases, where there is excessive ingestion of lead, the child may become unconscious and may have seizures.
When the child gets exposed to lead poisoning, he becomes irritable, complains of headache and is unusually fatigued. Children often complain of abdominal pain accompanied with vomiting and nausea. In case of existence of these symptoms the doctor may recommend a blood test to eliminate chances of existence of lead in the system.
In case of minor exposure much treatment may not be required except to ensure that the child does not get further exposed to lead. Slowly lead will filter out of the system. A severe case may require hospitalization and specific treatment. Once it is found that a child has suffered from lead poisoning, all the members of family should get themselves tested.
Once existence of lead has been detected, it is necessary to locate the source from which it went into the system of humans and to eliminate it. Get the paint on the walls, doors and windows checked. If it does contain lead, get a fresh coating done to reduce incidents of lead poisoning in the occupants of the house. Old copper and lead pipes in the plumbing system may need immediate replacement. Properly inspect the toys of the child and if you notice paint of some toy peeling off, discard that toy immediately. Buy certified toys for your child. These precautions will help keep the family healthy.