Lead poisoning

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An overview of the causes, symptoms, treatment options, and prevention of this rare, but harmful, condition in children.

Key points

  • Lead poisoning occurs when lead builds up in the body.
  • The build-up can take place over months or years.
  • A common cause of lead poisoning is licking a lead-coated object or inhaling dust from lead-based paint.
  • Lead poisoning is linked with harmful effects on children’s growth, attention and behaviour. Low levels of lead can lead to lower intellect and poor hearing.
  • Removal of lead from the child’s environment is the main treatment.
  • Lead poisoning is quite rare in Canada.
Last updated: May 7th 2010