CLEVELAND – National Lead Poisoning Awareness Week is held October 23-29.
Doctors with Cleveland Clinic Children’s are doing their part to raise awareness in an effort to help prevent childhood exposure.
“They can be exposed at home, at school, at daycare, at grandma’s house. And really it’s when lead particles, lead paint, chips from lead paint, the dust from those chips breaks down, if those particles are ingested and it gets into the blood stream, it can cause all kinds of problems long-term for that child,” explained Roopa Thakur, MD, pediatrician for Cleveland Clinic Children’s.
Dr. Thakur when a child is actively being exposed to lead, they may not show any symptoms or they might be vague. For example, trouble sleeping, behavior problems, and feeling tired.
But as time goes on, the long-term effects tend to become more noticeable.
Dr. Thakur said the child may have GI issues, decreased academic performance and i-q, and in severe cases – seizures and even death.
Since lead poisoning symptoms can be hard to detect at first, testing is recommended for those who are considered at-risk.
Prevention is also just as important.
“We know that if we address the housing stock, repaint the window sills and reduce the lead exposure, wet mop more in the home, things like that, we can eliminate or at least reduce some of those exposures for kids and help improve their outcomes,” she noted.
There are various treatment options available for lead poisoning. However, some long-term symptoms cannot be cured.