In children, lead paint, dust, and contaminated soil are common exposures. Risk factors include living in a home with lead-based paint or with plumbing containing lead pipes or solder. Acute poisoning in children has also been associated with ingesting or chewing on a metal object such as metal jewelry.
Adults who work in industries such as battery manufacturing and recycling, construction work, auto repair, and lead smelting are at risk for occupational lead exposure. Other risk factors include certain hobbies (making stained glass, refinishing old furniture, making one's own ammunition), and living in a developing country.
Clinical presentations are variable and dependent on patient age and severity of poisoning but they generally include peripheral neuropathy, encephalopathy, anorexia, albuminuria, anemia, headache, hypertension, insomnia, irritability, tremor, weight loss, and gastrointestinal symptoms.
Patients can be exposed to lead via contaminated air, water, dust, soil, and commercial products. Opium can be contaminated with lead. Patients with chronic lead poisoning generally won't present with symptoms until there are high levels of lead in the blood system, making early diagnosis challenging. A blood test will help identify lead poisoning. Treatment includes removal from source of exposure and consists of chelation therapy in chronic lead poisoning and bowel irrigation and gastric lavage in acute lead poisoning (ingested form).
T56.0X1A – Toxic effect of lead and its compounds, accidental (unintentional), initial encounter
38342005 – Toxic effect of lead compound