Lead exposure can be serious and is considered to be one of the biggest environmental threats to the health of children in the United States. Individuals can be exposed to lead by a variety of sources, such as air, soil, dust, drinking water, food and paint. Lead-based paint seems to be one of the most common causes of lead exposure.

Many of the recent recalled toys from China have lead, which poses a major danger to children’s health. Older homes can also have lead-based paint as lead was a common ingredient used in paint before the harmful effects were known. As paint ages, it begins to peel, chip or chalk and can consequently expose people to lead. It is important to understand the effects lead exposure can have on individuals and take immediate steps to treat the poisoning.

Exposure to lead has been known to cause mental retardation, impaired physical development and decreased attention span. High levels of lead exposure can even cause brain damage. Children who have been exposed to lead may show signs of irritability, inattention and hyperactivity. If the child has been exposed to lead for a long period of time, he or she may have trouble hearing, learning and reading. Adults may experience poor muscle coordination and nerve damage. Fetal development can also be harmed by lead poisoning.

The earlier lead poisoning is identified and the proper treatment is implemented, the better the chances that the damage will not be permanent. When a person is treated for lead poisoning, he or she may be given medication to remove the lead from the body. It is also vital that the source of lead exposure be eradicated to prevent further problems.