What are the symptoms of lead poisoning?

The gradual accumulation of lead in the body may make it difficult to recognize symptoms of lead poisoning. Ultimately, changes in cognition, slow development, behavioral issues, motor and sensory problems, decreased attention span, sleepiness, and poor appetite may be noticed. Headaches, constipation, and abdominal pain may be present.

Common symptoms of lead poisoning

Many symptoms of lead poisoning develop gradually. Common symptoms include:

  • Abdominal pain
  • Attention problems
  • Constipation
  • Developmental delays or losses
  • Headache
  • Hyperactivity
  • Irritability or aggressiveness
  • Paresthesia (tingling, burning or crawling sensation)
  • Poor appetite
  • School or learning problems
  • Sensory losses
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Sleepiness
  • Slow growth
  • Unexpected weight loss

Serious symptoms that might indicate a life-threatening condition

In some cases, lead poisoning can be life threatening. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) if you, or someone you are with, have any of these life-threatening symptoms including:

  • Change in level of consciousness or alertness, such as passing out or unresponsiveness
  • Seizure
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Severe headache
  • Vomiting


What is lead poisoning?

Lead is a heavy metal that is toxic to the human body. Lead poisoning can result from placing lead objects in your mouth, placing fingers in your mouth after handling lead, or from breathing dust that contains lead. Lead can be found in pre-1978 house paint, solder used in plumbing, old toys or furniture, imported toys, curtain weights, pottery, porcelain, leaded glass, and hobby materials. Lea... Read more about lead poisoningintroduction


What causes lead poisoning?

Lead can be found in many places in the environment around you. It is found in soil near highways and houses, lead paint, lead bullets, lead solder used in crafts and older plumbing, fishing and curtain weights, some art supplies, pewter, some pottery and porcelain, and leaded glass. Lead poisoning can result from placing lead objects in your mouth, placing fingers in your mouth after handling ... Read more about lead poisoningcauses


How is lead poisoning treated?

Treatment of lead poisoning begins with seeking regular medical care throughout your life. Regular medical care allows a health care professional to provide early screening tests. Regular medical care also provides an opportunity for your health care professional to evaluate symptoms and your risks for developing lead poisoning promptly.

Common treatments for lead poisoning Read more about lead poisoningtreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: Sep 6, 2013 Copyright: © Copyright 2014 Health Grades, Inc. All rights reserved. May not be reproduced or reprinted without permission from Health Grades, Inc. Use of this information is governed by the HealthGrades User Agreement.

This Article is Filed Under: Poisoning and Environmental Health