What is zinc poisoning?

Zinc is an important mineral required for a number of functions involving energy and metabolism. It is critical in supporting the immune system, which protects us from pathogens, infections, and disease. Zinc also plays a role in carbohydrate breakdown (process that supplies energy), as well as in cell growth, division and reproduction.

Zinc is also a metal with many common industrial applications, such as in paints, cleaners, solvents, and other construction materials. Zinc can also be found in rubber, varnish, dyes, and rust-proofing agents. Exposure to significant amounts of zinc can be extremely hazardous and result in poisoning. Overconsumption of zinc supplements can also cause zinc poisoning. Zinc is essential to healthy copper metabolism. Zinc toxicity interferes with normal copper absorption.

Symptoms of zinc poisoning are extremely serious and include convulsions and seizures, fever, aches and pains, shock, fainting, a persistent taste of metal, inability to urinate, rash, low blood pressure, and vomiting.

Zinc poisoning is a potentially life-threatening emergency. Seek immediate medical care (call 911) for serious symptoms, such as vomiting, seizure, inability to urinate, or difficulty breathing.


SYMPTOMS

What are the symptoms of zinc poisoning?

Symptoms of zinc poisoning can be very serious and warrant immediate medical attention. These symptoms tend to be generalized (involving your entire body) and can make you feel very sick.

Common symptoms of zinc poisoning

Common symptoms of zinc poisoning include:

CAUSES

What causes zinc poisoning?

Zinc poisoning occurs when there are toxic levels of zinc in the body. Zinc is commonly found in paints, metals, cleaners, solvents, and other construction materials. Other common materials and products containing zinc include rubber, varnish, dyes, and rust-proofing agents. You can also develop zinc poisoning through overconsumption of zinc supplements.

What are the risk fact... Read more about zinc poisoningcauses

TREATMENTS

How is zinc poisoning treated?

As zinc poisoning is a serious, potentially life-threatening condition, it is vitally important to seek immediate medical attention if you have symptoms you believe may be associated with zinc poisoning. Call the American Association of Poison Control Centers (1-800-222-1222) if you or someone you are with has been exposed to zinc and shows signs of poisoning. It is helpful to be able to identi... Read more about zinc poisoningtreatments

Medical Reviewer: William C. Lloyd III, MD, FACS Last Annual Review Date: May 7, 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: Allergies and the Immune System