Lead Poisoning in Adults

January 2, 2014 11:16 am

We often hear about lead poisoned children, but adults are often the victims of this entirely preventable disease as well.  According to the CDC’s Adult Blood Lead Epidemiology and Surveillance (ABLES) Program from 2002-2011 close to 14,000 adults were tested and found to have been lead poisoned.  And that number is only including those adults who have been tested.  Symptoms of lead poisoning are often misdiagnosed so it’s very plausible that thousands of lead poisoned adults many have never been tested.  The majority of these cases of lead poisoned adults occur at the workplace.  Perhaps the highest concentration is within the construction industry, where exposure to environmental toxins can be high, especially if proper personal protective equipment is not worn and proper safety protocol is not followed.

As stated on the CDC’s website, “Persistent very high BLL (blood lead level) can result in spontaneous abortion, reduced newborn birth-weight, neurocognitive deficits, sperm abnormalities, hypertension, anemia and kidney dysfunction.” Other symptoms of lead poisoning include abdominal pail, headaches, loss of appetite, muscle weakness and seizures.  If you are concerned you may be lead poisoned, contact a doctor to get tested.  If you work in the construction industry, or if you are remodeling your older home (pre 1978) make sure you are wearing the correct protective equipment and following proper safety procedure.