Children under the age of 2 are more likely to touch, inhale or lick substances around them – and in many cases, these children are at higher risk from these substances than older children or adults. In the case of lead paint, the effects on your child can be vast, and even permanent. Pregnant women with lead in their bones will have it absorbed by their unborn baby over pregnancy, putting the child at risk, so it’s important to remain vigilant about the possibility of lead being around you and your home.
It is universally agreed that there is no safe level of lead exposure for children, as their constantly developing brain is extra vulnerable to toxicity. Lead poisoning is rarely a single event in which a child ingests lots of lead and is ill, but rather, it is more likely to be an accumulation of lead within the body which results in a more long-term sickness. A child’s gastrointestinal tract absorbs substances faster than adults and so the effects of lead poisoning can build up over time.
So, what are the effects of lead poisoning? With high levels of lead exposure (known as acute toxicity), the toxicity attacks the brain and nervous system, resulting in coma, behavioral issues, mental disability and even death. But as this type of poisoning isn’t common, it is imperative that parents are aware of more gradual changes in their children’s behavior and physicality.
When exposure builds up over time and the toxicity affects the brain gradually, your child may suffer from memory problems; and you may notice impairments in their language fluency and speech. Attention spans can lower, and cognitive flexibility can lessen – they may lose their problem-solving skills and concentration, and find difficulty planning or organizing things. Both behavioral and neurological effects of lead poisoning are currently believed to be irreversible, with treatment but no cures currently on the market.
Lead is dangerous because the body distributes it thoroughly throughout just as it does for iron, calcium and zinc, and absorbs into bones. When absorbed in this way, your child’s muscle and bone growth can be stunted and muscle coordination lost. As the body absorbs the lead through into the kidneys and nervous system, this too can be irreparably damaged.
For help on identifying and removing lead in your home, contact Get The Lead Out today. We’re experts in lead safety and have specialists willing to help – no matter the size of your property. Call us now at 704-376-3594!