Lead - nutritional considerations
Nutritional considerations to reduce the risk of lead poisoning.
Lead poisoning - nutritional considerations; Toxic metal - nutritional considerations
Lead is a natural element with thousands of uses. Because it is widespread (and often hidden), lead can easily contaminate food and water without being seen or tasted. In the United States, it is estimated that half a million children ages 1 through 5 have unhealthy levels of lead in their bloodstream.
Old paint poses the greatest danger for lead poisoning, especially in young children. Tap water from lead pipes or pipes with lead solder is also a source of hidden lead.
Immigrant and refugee children are at much greater risk for lead poisoning than children born in the United States because of diet and other exposure risks before arriving in the US.
High doses of lead can damage the gastrointestinal system, nervous system, kidneys, and blood system and can even lead to death. Continuous low-level exposure causes lead to accumulate in the body and cause damage. It is particularly dangerous for babies, before and after birth, and for small children, because their bodies and brains are growing rapidly.
Many federal agencies study and monitor lead exposure. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) monitors lead in food, beverages, food containers, and tableware. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) monitors lead levels in drinking water.
To reduce the risk for lead poisoning:
Other important recommendations:
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website. Lead. www.cdc.gov/nceh/lead/default.htm. Updated October 18, 2018. Accessed January 9, 2019.
Markowitz M. Lead poisoning. In: Kliegman RM, St. Geme JW, Blum NJ, Shah SS, Tasker RC, Wilson KM, eds. Nelson Textbook of Pediatrics. 21st ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 739.
Theobald JL, Mycyk MB. Iron and heavy metals. In: Walls RM, Hockberger RS, Gausche-Hill M, eds. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2018:chap 151.
Review Date: 12/27/2018
Reviewed By: Jacob L. Heller, MD, MHA, Emergency Medicine, Emeritus, Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle, WA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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