Lead toxicity (poison) in children

Lead toxicity (poison) in children

Children’s goes beyond the basic blood tests and works with families to discover the source of the lead, to not only stop the exposure, but to protect others in the home or workplace.

Lead exposure affects nearly every system in the body. Children under age six (6) are most at risk for long-term developmental damage. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that at least 4 million households have children living in them that are being exposed to high levels of lead. The Children’s team is here to help keep your kids and family safe.

Program overview

At Children's Health℠, we’re experts in childhood development and health issues – and as serious about reducing potential environmental hazards as you are. The physicians who practice at Children’s Health are extremely careful in their diagnosis, thorough in working with families and caregivers to eliminate exposure, and above all, committed to helping children overcome the often long-term effects of lead toxicity.

The physicians who practice at Children’s Health have extensive experience using several different chelation methods. Additionally, Children’s Health provides screening and occupational therapies when necessary to help children who have been exposed to lead overcome the developmental problems it can cause.

Lead poisoning

When children are exposed to lead, small amounts of the metal builds up in the blood, brain, and bones. Although symptoms may not be noticeable for years, lead poisoning can result in developmental delays and permanent defects. That’s why Children’s is committed to preventing the problem whenever possible, and treating lead exposure as soon as it’s detected.

In most cases, lead poisoning is easy to diagnose with a simple blood test. Treating and eliminating the problem takes the concerted effort of medical and environmental professionals. In some cases, second-tier testing is warranted, especially neurobehavioral/psychological evaluations. Because the initial symptoms of lead poisoning can mimic the symptoms of many other (less serious) childhood ailments, the specialists at Children’s are thorough in evaluating every detail of a child’s case. The physicians who practice at Children’s Health are caring and conscientious about diagnoses. While lead poisoning is serious, Children’s strives to avoid causing unnecessary scares.

Lead poisoning prevention

The Texas Department of Health strongly encourages lead screening for all children at ages one (1) and two (2) years old. Even with treatment, neurodevelopmental issues associated with lead poisoning often persist. In some populations, testing is recommended in children ages one (1) to five (5). Children’s experience in working with families and public health officials throughout Texas gives us the edge in reducing the dangers of lead toxicity.

Lead, while common in paint and gasoline until the late 1970's, is still prevalent in our environment, including in plumbing and pipes, soil that is contaminated with automobile exhaust or paint scrapings, in pewter pitchers, some craft paints, and batteries. Children’s staff works closely with area epidemiologists to evaluate home and work environments to locate the source of lead endangering the patients, and to limit families’ risk and exposure in order to avoid lead poisoning.

When a potentially dangerous lead level exists, Children’s works quickly to help families create an action plan to minimize their exposure and risk. Healthy children are always our top priority. While we can’t eliminate all sources of lead, together, we can make lead poisoning a thing of the past. 

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